Writing on Oct. 2, Smith, senior fellow in human rights and bioethics at the Discovery Institute, asked,
"What is it about embryonic stem cell research that turns politicians into courtiers? "He said government leaders are more than ready to denounce the "get-rich, money-talks ethos" of Big Pharma, but "trip over each other to grant (biotech) policy agendas carte blanche."
Smith was talking about SB1565, legislation by state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, which was aimed at providing affordable access to CIRM-financed therapies. The measure was opposed by the biotech industry and CIRM.
Smith said the governor claimed "incongruously that it 'does nothing to advance the will of over 7 million voters,' when precisely the opposite - assuring access for the poor to CIRM-facilitated treatments - was clearly part of the package voters thought they bought when passing Proposition 71."
"Given the governor's constant harping about the crucial importance of bipartisanship, the veto is ironic. Talk about a bipartisan measure! SB1565 passed the Senate unanimously and by an overwhelming 64-7 in the Assembly. Other than naming freeways after dead luminaries, it is rare to find such agreement in the ideologically divided California Legislature.Jerry Steele, an advocate of adult stem cell therapy writing on the TheraVitae blog, also was critical of the veto. He said,
"In backing the CIRM's fiscal profligacy and giving the back of his hand to the poor and the ill through his veto, Schwarzenegger made a joke of his reputation as a fiscal conservative and bipartisan consensus builder. How sad that the once mighty Arnold, who came to Sacramento vowing to smash boxes, has instead assumed the role of a mere industry retainer."
"The CIRM has been mired in many controversies on where the money has been distributed and is deathly quiet on the issue of when it is going to produce any cure."Steele asked if California has received a return on its investment,
"Well, even the staunchest supporter of the CIRM would be hard pressed to come up with any successful results- I tried Google and the most I could come up with was a few semi-famous scientists have migrated to California to live off the taxpayer."Geron, a Menlo Park, Ca., stem cell company, had a different view, although it was very brief. In what amounted to a one sentence news release, the firm said it supported the veto because the legislation ran "counter" to Prop. 71.
Don Reed, patient advocate and a vice president of the private stem cell lobbying group belonging to CIRM Chairman Robert Klein, gave a cyberspace sigh of relief on his blog. But he noted that the Little Hoover Commission, a bipartisan good-government state agency, will be looking into CIRM.
"If the Little Hoover Commission develops a new law or initiative against us, I will let you know about it early, so we can protect California’s great gift to the world."Unsaid was the implication that any proposed change in CIRM's operations would be an attack. Sphere: Related Content