Thursday, December 01, 2005

Conflicts and Records Targeted by CIRM Foes

Foes of the California stem cell agency are going to dig deeply into the doings of CIRM as they push their effort to exterminate the $6 billion program.

Reporter Carl Hall of the San Francisco Chronicle offered up a few more details this morning of the anti-CIRM strategy in the wake of Tuesday's court ruling to proceed with a trial on the challenge to the agency.

He quoted Dana Cody of the Life Legal Defense Foundation in Sacramento, one of the opposing attorney, as saying she and her colleagues intend "to amass extensive evidence during the discovery phase leading up to a trial."

"One of her allies, David Llewellyn, who represents the bioethics group, said he looked forward to documenting 'very clear' financial conflicts among those charged with distributing Prop. 71 grants.

"He said the plaintiffs also would show that voters had been misled during the 2004 campaign about the real cost of embryonic stem cell research -- interest expenses on the $3 billion in grants, for instance, are estimated to total as much as $3.7 billion over the long run -- and the likelihood of a payoff for taxpayers anytime soon.

"Litigation hasn't yet been filed to block the expected $50 million financing plan, but Llewellyn said that might happen once state officials moved toward selling special 'bond anticipation notes' to investors who would be repaid only if the lawsuits were resolved and the Prop. 71 bonds were sold," Hall wrote.

Meanwhile, the San Jose Mercury News editorially called on
the judge in the case to dismiss the whole matter on Tuesday. Don't thwart the will of the people was the newspaper's position. It also said:

"It's true that Prop. 71 left inevitable gaps in areas of ethics and accountability. No proposition of this magnitude will ever dot every 'i' and cross every 't.' But the Legislature, led by Sen. Deborah Ortiz, D-Sacramento, is working hard to close those gaps and made significant progress in the last legislative session."
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