Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tiny Turnout at Stem Cell Agency Meetings

Public attendance at meetings of the Oversight Committee of the California stem cell agency seems shockingly small.

Perhaps our reaction is that of one who believes, however naively, that what public agencies do is important, especially one that is as unique, new and important as CIRM.

The number of persons in the audience in Duarte Tuesday ranged from 10 to 20 persons and probably included some media. The Oversight Committee itself, without including CIRM staff, outnumbered the public.

We also attended an Oversight meeting in September in Sacramento that had a rather sparse crowd. One of the regular attendees at all the meetings has told us that the lean turnout is pretty regular.

From our own experience in covering state agencies, we can tell you that huge crowds rarely show up for any state agency meetings. But usually a goodly number of representatives from businesses, nonprofits or other institutions affected by the agency appear. So far, that does not appear to be the case for CIRM.

As for our own dismal attendance record at the Oversight Committee meetings, we would like to attend more but we live fulltime on a sailboat in Mexico, returning by air to the Old Country only for intermittent visits. It is then that we take in meetings and chat with some of the players involved in California stem cell issues. Meantime, we stay in contact with stem cell matters via the Web and email. Sphere: Related Content

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