Thursday, May 05, 2005

"Nothing If Not Political"

Picture the contestants in the Miss Stem Cell beauty pageant: Sluttish San Francisco, surf-and-turf San Diego and Sacramento, the demure farm girl.

That's how The Sacramento Bee editorialized today on the process of selecting a location for the stem cell headquarters.

While the newspaper had a little fun with the subject, it said the process illuminated the political nature of the Oversight Committee.

“It has revealed how parochial interests will likely dominate the dispersal of $3 billion of public funds over the next decade.

“At Monday's meeting of the institute's site-selection subcommittee, (stem cell chairman Robert) Klein ranked San Francisco - a quick drive from his Portola Valley home - as his top choice. Richard Murphy and Dr. John Reed gave even more lavish scores to their home team, San Diego. When it was clear that the fix was in, Dr. Phyllis Preciado of Fresno asked to change her score. Her extra five points for Sacramento kept it in the competition.

“Let's fast-forward to later this year, when the oversight committee is expected to start dispersing $300 million in annual research grants. Bay Area representatives will undoubtedly direct funds to Stanford and UC San Francisco. The Los Angeles contingent will push hard for UCLA, University of Southern California, Cedars-Sinai and the City of Hope. The San Diego appointees will make sure that UCSD, the Salk Institute and the Burnham Institute get their gravy. (UC) Irvine and (UC) Davis supporters will probably need to trade votes to avoid being shut out.

"Klein says he designed the 29-member oversight committee to shield it from politics, but make no mistake: This board is nothing if not political.”

Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Post a Comment