Sunday, January 01, 2006

Stem Cell Matters Moving Into Gubernatorial Campaign

You might call him Stem Cell Steve. He is the only major candidate for governor of California with a section of his website devoted to stem cell issues.

He is Steve Westly, the elected controller of the state of California. Westly is running for the Democratic nomination for governor against Phil Angelides, who is the elected state treasurer.

The position of controller is pretty much a ho-hum office, hardly worth more than the proverbial bucket of warm spit, as a former vice president of the United States once described his own office. It is difficult to electrify the electorate when your main responsibilities as controller are primarily printing state payroll checks and dealing with "fiscal year-end procedures."

Only one California controller has managed to make it into the governor's office, Gray Davis, who was a colleague of ours some 30 years ago.

We ran across Westly's interest in stem cell matters when we saw a Google ad bearing his name on this web site. That means the Westly campaign is paying Google to place ads on sites that deal with stem cell issues.

(For the record: We -- the California Stem Cell Report -- do not have any control over which ads Google places on our pages. We do not receive any revenue from Google unless someone happens to click on Westly's ad or any of the others that may appear. Even then the amounts are inconsequential or less. Since Google ads began appearing on this blog in early 2005, we have not received one cent from the advertising. We hesitate to speculate about what that means.)

Westly's ad makes a pitch. "Stem cell research – why it's held up and how you can help," it reads. The ad contains a link that takes the curious to a section on Westly's campaign website called "Stem Cell Research Now!" It targets Gov. Schwarzenegger as allied with opponents of stem cell research who have sued the stem cell agency. Here is what it says:

"Right-wing troublemakers Ted Costa and Lew Uhler are behind the lawsuit. They also happen to be - surprise, surprise - two of Governor Schwarzenegger's biggest backers. Costa led the recall and Prop. 77 drives. Uhler was behind the union dues initiative, Prop. 75.

"So why doesn't the Governor call off his conservative cronies? Millions of people are waiting for cures. Stem cells may be the fastest way to get those cures. And Arnold's buddies are holding up the research."

The pitch includes an electronic petition that is designed to be sent to the governor with the electronic addition of a signature and email address from whomever may be viewing the site, whether they live in Korea or South Dakota. Our suspicion is that the petition, if it ever gets delivered, would contain no names from Korea. The Westly effort is undoubtedly designed to identify probable Westly supporters who are interested in stem cell research. Once identified, they can be targeted later for more specific pitches in support of Westly.

Westly's rival for the Democratic nomination, Angelides, does not have a similar focus on stem cell issues. One can only speculate on the stem cell strategy in Westly's campaign. But here is one theory: Westly's people read polls that say the public supports stem cell research. If the public knows Westly supports the research, that will generate voter approval. It will generate even more voter approval if the evil Gov. Gropenator is linked with the Luddites who oppose stem cell research and are suing to prevent it. Further, attacking the governor at this stage could also help weaken him in next fall's general election. Or so the reasoning may go.

We should note that Westly is a former top executive at eBay and has close links to the Silicon Valley financial community, which was a big supporter of Prop. 71. California stem cell chairman Robert Klein also donated $27,695 to Westly's campaign for controller, according to one report.


  1. Anonymous2:44 PM


    I may have an answer to the lack of revenue from Google. I run IE 6 on Windows. When I click the google adds, nothing happens, unless I right click and "open in a new browser window".

    Suggest you look in to this if you want google revenue....

  2. Thanks for your comment. But when I right click or left click I get delivered to the site desired by the ad. So it may be something to do with the way your computer is configured. The fact is that the folks who read this blog are not interested in buying the stuff Google advertises on it. They don't click through on the Amazon ads either, even when Amazon put on cell phone advertising. It is just an experiment anyway.


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