This week's relatively rosy report on the economic impact of California's $3 billion stem cell research program has not convinced longtime critics to change their positions and support giving it an additional $5 billion.
In the eyes of some opponents, the stem cell agency is still a boondoggle, a waste of money and an inappropriate use of state bonds, the borrowed money that is the only significant source of cash for the program. Other critics recommended moving the program to the University of California and restricting it to "breakthrough medicine."
The agency, known formally as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), expects to run out of money for new awards this month. It is hoping that voters will see value in its efforts and approve -- in November 2020 -- a $5.5 billion ballot initiative that would refinance the agency.
The 2004 initiative that created CIRM was handily approved by 59 percent of the voters following a campaign that created expectations that nearly miraculous therapies were right around the corner. The agency has yet to back a treatment that... see more