Thursday, May 05, 2005

Just Say No to $200 Million

The California stem cell agency should be prevented from issuing $200 million in bonds because it is not “necessary or desirable” under state law, according to Berkeley attorney, Charles Halpern.

In a letter to the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Finance Committee, Halpern said, “The ICOC does not have a plan for spending such money and has no criteria for making grants or monitoring the uses of the bond proceeds. As of today the ICOC has not even adopted an operating budget....”

Halpern requested the committee to reject the bond request by the agency and not approve more than $25 million in bond sales.

The former dean of the law school at the City University of New York also said, “It should be noted that tantalizing press reports in recent weeks have suggested that (stem cell chairman Robert) Klein has a secret plan to finance Prop. 71 without selling bonds. This morning (May 5) the CIRM has posted on its website a notice that it is working with state officials 'on an interim financing program that does not use state funds. This will be discussed at the May 9 Finance Committee.' This alternative financing program has never been discussed by the ICOC in an open meeting, and it does not appear on the Agenda for tomorrow’s ICOC meeting.”

Halpern said discussion of such a plan would be in violation of state law because the public did not have enough notice.

We are seeking comment from the stem cell agency on Halpern's letter, which follows below.
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