Thursday, July 14, 2011

San Jose Mercury News: Stem Cell Bond Proposal Is Financially Spacey

The San Jose Mercury News today said that California is in "no position" to make an additional multibillion dollar bet on the California stem cell agency and its efforts to come up with a new stem cell therapy.

Commenting on the possibility that CIRM would seek voter approval of another mammoth bond measure, the newspaper said in an editorial,
"What planet are these guys from? "
The newspaper continued,
"Going back for more would make no sense regardless of the economy, but even contemplating it now shows either ignorance or an incredible disregard for the magnitude of California's financial crisis. How could the agency ask for an additional $3 billion when the state is trimming more than $10 billion from essential services?

"The stem cell agency has fulfilled its promise to build a research infrastructure that would attract some of the world's greatest scientific minds. But Californians have yet to see any tangible evidence that their investment is producing the cures that were also promised. And even if they had, $3 billion is a substantial investment for one state to make in a worldwide research challenge."
After seven years, the newspaper said,
"...(T)he research should be far enough along for venture capitalists to see the wisdom of investing."
The editorial's starting point was the kerfuffle over the $400,000 salary of CIRM's new chairman, which the newspaper withheld judgment on. What caught our attention is that the newspaper seem surprised by what it called a "real eye-brow raiser" – the proposed bond measure.

The bond proposal has been publicly known for many, many months. Much of the CIRM funding is being spent in the Mercury News' backyard. For the newspaper not to be aware of the plan says a great deal about the state of coverage of the agency by the mainstream media. It also reflects the current sad state of the newspaper industry in general.

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