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For more than a decade, according to David Jensen of the California Stem Cell Report, the $3 billion California Institute for Regenerative Medicine “has given away money at a rate of $22,000 an hour, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.” Donald Kohn of UCLA got $52 million from CIRM, and his treatment of Evangelina Padilla-Vaccaro, age 6, is “just what Californians hoped for when they created the Oakland-based agency in 2004 via Proposition 71.”
CIRM therapies, Jensen continues, “would ease afflictions found in nearly 50 percent of California families,” and as then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said, CIRM would create the “cures for tomorrow.” It hasn’t and the odds are against CIRM ever doing so.
As we noted, this medical-scientific bust has been angling for more money, and David Jensen is the lead pitchman. “California’s stem cell agency will run out of money in three years. Should voters OK spending more?,” runs the headline on Jensen’s January 17 Sacramento Bee piece, which finally acknowledges that he is a “retired Bee editor.” Jensen leads with the poster-child story, which as his highly promotional website confirms, was also on the cover of CIRM’s own publication. Jensen buries the reality that CIRM has handed out some 90 percent of its money “to institutions with links to past or present board members.” And despite stellar salaries, CIRM “has yet to come up with a therapy that reaches the general public despite rosy expectations raised by the ballot campaign.” No cures and therapies means no stream of royalties, as the 2004 campaign also promised.
Jensen invokes John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog of Santa Monica, letting slip that Simpson “was heavily involved in development of the agency’s intellectual property policy.” So no surprise that Simpson, supposedly a consumer advocate, wants CIRM to get more money “under the normal state budgetary process.” Jensen also invokes current CIRM boss C. Randal Mills, who compares CIRM to a flywheel. Once it gets turning, “it’s almost impossible to stop.” This guy understands that false promises, failure, corruption and waste are no bar to public funding in California.
With free spending high-tax evangelist Jerry Brown in office until 2018, look for more CIRM ad copy masquerading as journalism.