It came in the form of an entry in his blog entitled “Of stem cells and administrative arrogance.”
Among other things, he said Prop. 71, which created California's $3 billion research effort, was “too specific about how the program would be managed and how it would spend its money -- embryonic stem cell research was placed front and center at a time when that line of research was so, well, embryonic that no one could tell how fecund it might be.”
Hiltzik also said,
“Prop. 71 is an excellent illustration of how the state's initiative process can lead to doing the wrong thing with the right intentions. Now that many other research vectors are proving more interesting, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is at a crossroads, only five years after it was launched. Its latest major round of grants included some that had little to do with embryonic stem cells; it's moving away from basic science grants toward lending to commercial firms; its 10-year sunset deadline is fast approaching, with no one sure whether its lifespan should or can be extended; and real and potential conflicts of interest involving its board members and grant applicants continue to exist.”“Now,” he said, “even Prop. 71 itself is in the program's way.”
A footnote on the sunset comment: The organization itself does not terminate after 10 years. Rather it loses its ability to issue state bonds.
(Editor's note posted Feb. 8, 2010: Section 3 of Prop. 71 states that the intent of the measure -- and "intent" is the key word -- is to
"Authorize an average of $295 million per year in bonds over a 10-year period to fund stem cell research and dedicated facilities for scientists at California’s universities and other advanced medical research facilities throughout the state."(The outside attorney for the board says there is no legal time limit on the board's bonding abilities, just the total amount of the bonds, $3 billion. We will soon post an item discussing at more length the misperceptions about CIRM's life span.) Sphere: Related Content