Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Sewell Praises Bee, Criticizes Hall

David Serrano Sewell, a member of the Oversight Committee of the California stem cell agency, is lauding an article by The Sacramento Bee on the selection of Alan Trounson as the agency's new president.

It is somewhat unusual to find praise coming from CIRM for The Bee, which has taken a critical view editorially of many of CIRM's action. But those editorials are written in a department that operates independently of the newsroom, which in turn operates independently of the editorial department. It was a news article that Sewell praised.

Sewell's comments came in a letter published in today's Bee in which he also took issue with the comments of former CIRM President Zach Hall, who was quoted in the Trounson piece

Sewell (photo above) said Hall
"...was dead wrong in his assessment that the (CIRM) management structure presents some 'challenges.' The challenges are not in the agency's governing structure; rather, they originated from Zach's inability to effectively work with the entire board. Happily, those 'challenges' are behind us. Dr. Trounson is a breath of fresh air!"
There is a bit of history involving Sewell and Hall. Last April Sewell confronted Hall during a public meeting of the agency's Facilities Working Group, in a manner which some members of the Oversight Committee found disturbing. One said later she could not believe "the tone of contention, sarcasam and aggression toward Hall."

Following the meeting, the chairman of the working group quit with no explanation. And Hall announced he was moving up his previously announced plans to retire.

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