Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bee Says Time is Ripe for Klein to Leave

The Sacramento Bee Saturday said Bob Klein's departure as chairman of the California stem cell agency is “long overdue.”

Writing in an editorial, The Bee said Klein 's tenure “has not been in the best interest of either taxpayers or the stem cell agency.” Klein announced earlier this month he would not seek re-election as chairman at the end of his term in 2010.

The Bee is the only daily newspaper in the state Capitol and is widely read by lawmakers and policy makers. It has long been critical of Klein. The editorial also appeared in the Fresno Bee, which is owned by the parent company of both papers, and may well appear elsewhere in the McClatchy newspaper chain. (Fresno is Klein's home town.)

The Bee said,
“Chairing a 29-member board that is far too large and rife with conflicts of interest, Klein has operated the institute in a smothering manner, with little regard to transparency or lines of authority.

“Since 2005, Klein has run off talented scientists, such as former CIRM President Zach Hall. He has helped direct millions of dollars to contracts for law firms and public relations consultants – money that could have gone to science.

“Whenever any lawmaker or outside group scrutinizes his decisions or expenditures, Klein cranks up his political attack machine. While serving as a public official, Klein has led or has been affiliated with at least two nonprofit groups that have gone after legislators who sought to reform CIRM.”
The Bee also declared that CIRM should closely examine its internal expenditures, citing coverage of its budget by the California Stem Cell Report.

The editorial generated some reader commentary, including a posting from journalism professor Michael Fitzgerald that said,
“Perhaps Mr. Klein has suffered from hubris, but give him some credit. There would not be a stem cell institute if it wasn't for his efforts.”
Most of the other comments were less generous.

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