Friday, March 25, 2005

Business, Politics, Stem Cells and Steve Westly

Chris Nolan, in a column for eWEEK, touches again on the interplay of business and government in relation to the California stem cell agency.

Her points are good and often not well understood by students of business or politics. Having worked in both politics and government and in the private sector, including entrepreneurial roles, I can vouch that some of the skills are the same but some are different. The different frames of reference that are required may be what give crossover efforts difficulty. But it can be done. Felix Rohatyn, who was instrumental in rescuing New York City from bankruptcy many years ago, is one person who comes to mind as a skillful practitioner of politics and business.

The eWeek column begins: “Robert Klein, the Palo Alto, Calif., real estate developer who pushed the measure to passage, has been making some serious missteps, sending the wrong signals about how he'll deal with state officials.
“His organization, the
California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and the 29-member panel that oversees its work, the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, have run into trouble over what—to a businessperson—sound like technical details.”

Nolan also writes about the agency on her “Politics Left and Right” blog, which suggests, among other things, that State Controller Steve Westly provide some additional assistance to CIRM.

She says he is “a creature of Silicon Valley (who) understands how guys like Klein think (and) was an early and eager back of the stem cell proposition because he correctly saw it as a jobs measure. He's also been friendly with Gov. Schwarzenegger who, it seems, taught Westly a few things about political grace while the pair went campaigning together last year. Westly's got financial oversight responsibility for Klein's committee; he's perfectly positioned to take some irons out of the fire here. And he ought to do it. This could very quickly become a intra-mural Democratic party fight. Or worse.”

No comments:

Post a Comment