Thursday, October 22, 2020

Prop. 14 Media Coverage from Capitol Weekly and California Healthline

The campaign on behalf of a $5.5 billion stem cell ballot measure this week placed an opinion piece on Capitol Weekly, and California Healthline separately offered up a news overview of the proposal, Proposition 14. 

The measure would save the California stem cell agency from financial extinction and broadly expand its scope into new areas ranging from mental health to "aging as a pathology." The agency is running out of the $3 billion that voters provided nearly 16 years ago and will begin closing its doors this winter without a major cash infusion. 

The piece on Healthline referenced the 2004 ballot initiative that created the agency. The article by Rachel Bluth said,
"During that first campaign, voters were told research funded by the measure could lead to cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s and other devastating diseases, and that the state could reap millions in royalties from new treatments.

"Yet most of those ambitions remain unfulfilled."
The article continued,
"The campaigns for both bond measures may be giving people unrealistic expectations and false hope, said Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society. 'It undermines people’s trust in science,' Darnovsky said. 'No one can promise cures, and nobody should.'

"Robert Klein, a real estate developer who wrote both ballot measures, disagrees.... He said some of (the agency's) breakthroughs are helping patients right now.'

"'What are you going to do if this doesn’t pass? Tell those people we’re sorry, but we’re not going to do this?' Klein said. 'The thought of other children needlessly dying is unbearable.'"
California Healthline is independently published by Kaiser Health News for the California Health Care Foundation.

The Capitol Weekly piece was written by Tracy Grikscheit, chief of pediatric surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, who has received nearly $15 million from the stem cell agency. Children's has received more than $32 million from the agency. It has a longstanding relationship with the University of Southern California, which has received more than $114 million from the agency and which has also had a representative on the agency's board for a number of years in the past.

The Capitol Weekly article largely consisted of well-worn information from the campaign for Proposition 14.  Capitol Weekly is an online news service covering state politics and government.

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