California Stem Cell Research Agency Bashed for Spending 750M on Buildings

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 7, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Stem Cell Research Agency Bashed for Spending 750M on Buildings

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 7
, 2008

Sacramento, CA ( — When California voters approved Proposition 71, they were promised the $6 billion program would be spent on finding cures for patients. With no cures from human cloning or embryonic stem cell research on the horizon, the agency the measure created is financing the construction of new buildings.

The governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is expected to approve a package of grants today to spend $750 million on constructing new research facilities at college campuses across the state.

The grants will cover about one-third to one-quarter of the funding needed to construct the new buildings and the rest of the funds will come from private donations.

The San Francisco Chronicle said the total grant package could reach $832 million if the CIRM panel approves all of the requests it is expected to okay.

"When the creators of Proposition 71 spent tens of millions buying a constitutional amendment in California to permit human cloning research, they promised cures," state bioethicist Wesley Smith noted.

"And what are people spending hundreds of millions of dollars of borrowed money on? Expensive fancy buildings," he added.

The stem cell panel is also coming under fire for funding a University of California at San Francisco plan to hire a high-price architectural firm to build a lavish new research building into its hillside campus.

"I would have hoped that at a time when California is literally drowning in a $20 billion deficit, that some restraint would be shown," Smith said. "But who was I kidding?"

"This is the kind of moral corruption, pigs-feeding-at-the-trough kind of excess that undermines the people’s confidence in government and our ruling institutions," he said.

Smith said the CIRM panel should be focusing instead on funding adult stem cell research, which has already produced treatments that are helping patients with almost 100 different diseases and conditions.