Wednesday, December 16, 2020

No. 1 Read: A 'Deep Dive' Into the Sweeping Changes Made in California's $12 Billion Stem Cell Program

Capitol Weekly's Twitter item on its most
read story of 2020

Capitol Weekly
, the respected online news service devoted to state government and politics, this week reported that its most-read story of the year is an article headlined "Proposition 14: There’s much, much more than meets the eye."

The piece was written by yours truly and dealt with the successful ballot initiative that saved the state stem cell agency from financial oblivion with a $5.5 billion infusion of borrowed money. 

The 17,000-word measure, however, also involved a sweeping expansion of the scope of the agency and made a host of consequential changes. The freelance piece began: 
"Proposition 14, the fall ballot measure to save California’s stem cell agency from financial extinction, contains much, much more than the $5.5 billion that it is seeking from the state’s voters.

"Added to the agency’s charter would be research involving mental health, 'therapy delivery,' personalized medicine and 'aging as a pathology.' That is not to mention a greater emphasis on supporting 'vital research opportunities' that are not stem cell-related.

"The measure would enlarge the board from 29 to 35 members. Even at 29, the board has been much criticized for its large size, which creates more possibilities for conflicts of interest, a long-standing issue for the agency.

"Proposition 14 would ban royalties generated by state-backed stem cell inventions from being used for such things as prisons and schools, isolating the funds from tinkering by lawmakers."
The Aug. 31 article was drawn from my new book, "California's Great Stem Cell Experiment: Inside a $3 Billion Search for Stem Cell Cures."  The book is a product of 15 years of coverage of the stem cell agency and posting of more than 5,000 items on its activities on the California Stem Cell Report.

Capitol Weekly has been around for decades, originally as a print publication. It is now part of Open California, a nonprofit that helps to fill a gap left by diminishing coverage of state issues by the mainstream media. 

On its website, Open California says, 
"Our mission is to inform, enlighten and educate Californians about public policy and state governance, and to provide a platform for engagement with public officials, advocates and political interests.  To meet this goal, Open California publishes continuing, in-depth, nonpartisan coverage of current policy and political issues, and hosts regular forums for public discussion of policy and California politics."

1 comment:

  1. I bought David Jensen's book, and recommend it. He and I often disagree on CIRM (I think it is great, he thinks it needs work) but Jensen is a reporter and his writing is an unparalleled source for background information.


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