MOORLACH UPDATE — CIRM and School District’s Group 5 — September 26, 2019

CIRM

It’s always a big compliment when you’re invited to submit an editorial on a subject for a longtime newspaper of stature in the state.  The San Diego Union-Tribune requested my thoughts on the possibility of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine’s (CIRM) plans to put another bond measure on the 2020 ballot to replenish its slush fund.  It’s the first piece below.

CIRM recently announced intentions to encumber Californians with another $5.5 billion in debt, plus interest (see MOORLACH UPDATE — CIRM, Completing and Curriculum — August 15, 2019). Debt payments would be around $250 million to $350 million a year from the general fund.

I was one of the three individuals who signed the argument against Proposition 71, the ballot measure that established CIRM in 2004 with a $3 billion bond. This was the first statewide ballot measure I got involved with.  I felt that it would be a boondoggle, as most of the serious stem cell patents had already been filed by the University of Wisconsin and this newly established entity would have no oversight. Regretfully, my worst fears were realized and the San Francisco Chronicle did an excellent job of critiquing this poster child for ballot measure abuse last year (see  MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1004 and CIRM — September 10, 2018).

California has enough debt.  The Golden State has the second-largest unrestricted net deficit and placed 42nd when compared on a per capita basis (see MOORLACH UPDATE — 2018 State Per Capita UNPs — August 22, 2019  and MOORLACH UPDATE — Hart, Handy and OPEBs — August 29, 2019, where I announce the slight adjustment to Illinois’ unrestricted net deficit due to its finally releasing its CAFR).

For another study on the 50 states, reflecting that my per capita metric is fairly reliable, see Truth in Accounting’s just released report at  https://www.truthinaccounting.org/news/detail/financial-state-of-the-states-2019.  Using a different methodology from mine, they come to a similar ranking, placing California 43rd.

Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce

The Daily Pilot announces my upcoming October speaking engagement with the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce in the second piece below.

School District Ranking – Group 5 – #377 to #470  

Releasing Group 5 brings us to the halfway point.  It would be better if your school district were in the top half.  Orange County has two more districts that make it to this category, #466 – Los Alamitos Unified and #468 – Cypress Elementary.  For links to the first 4 groups, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Reducing Debt Transparency? — September 25, 2019. It’s the third piece below.

OPINION

Commentary: Why stem-cell research funding proposal is a waste of taxpayer money

Promises not kept, conflicts abound

By JOHN M. W. MOORLACH

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/story/2019-09-25/commentary-why-stem-cell-research-funding-proposal-is-a-waste-of-taxpayer-money

Like a spendthrift dependent, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is back and looking for more money. With its original Proposition 71 funds of $3 billion running out, beneficiaries of CIRM are looking to draw out another $5.5 billion in taxpayer-funded bonds for stem-cell research that after 15 years has produced close to no results.

In 2004, as Orange County’s treasurer-tax collector, I took a public stand against Proposition 71 as a waste of the taxpayers’ money. I believed then, as now, that it was an inurement subsidy on the backs of taxpayers. It was ballot measure abuse at its finest.

Also opposing Proposition 71 were taxpayer and good-government groups, as well as the California Nurses Association and the Green Party.

In 2019, we can look back at the record of the 2004 measure, which Hollywood actors sold to voters with unrealistic promises and pleas, and surmise the same results will be repeated but at a higher cost.

Why? First, the lack of promised outcomes. “The agency has since funded 55 clinical trials, but only one therapy … is likely to hit the market any time soon,” Nature reported in July.

In September 2018, the San Francisco Chronicle reviewed the agency’s nearly 1,000 grants, concluding there was no “predicted windfall.” Instead, most of the money went to “basic research, training programs and building new laboratories, not to clinical trials testing the kinds of potential cures and therapies the billions of dollars were supposed to deliver.”

Second is the lack of promised returns. The only royalty check for new discoveries was in March 2018 for $190,345.87.

Third is the excessive payouts to the measure’s promoters and beneficiaries due to no accountability of CIRM, expressly written into the measure, from either the Legislature or the governor’s office.

Former state Sen. Art Torres, although not a scientist, is vice-chair of the CIRM governing board, earning an annual paycheck of $225,000.

Financier Robert Klein, who initiated Proposition 71 and contributed $3 million to its campaign, was CIRM’s chairman from 2004 to 2011. In 2008, he was granted a “half-time” salary of $150,000 a year.

The Chronicle investigation found board members “abstained from voting on grants roughly 1,770 times since 2006 due to reported financial conflicts.”

Researcher Lloyd Billingsley reported that “91 percent of CIRM funding went to institutions with representatives on the CIRM board.”

Federal income tax law prohibits private inurement, i.e., receiving excessive benefits from a nonprofit.

Fourth is the massive amount of tax dollars invested in a “dry hole.” Not only was the $3 billion for the research a bust, but taxpayers will be paying interest on the principal until 2039. California Treasurer Fiona Ma’s office told me the cost of the interest on the $2.59 billion of principal already spent will be $836.6 million. Interest rates lower than anticipated in 2004 kept that below the original $3 billion estimate.

That’s money that could have gone for housing for the homeless, paying off pension liabilities or having more teachers in schools.

Fifth, the private sector is the proper venue for risk-takers trying to make a return on potential stem cell cures.

In 2020, it would be an added folly to pass $5.5 billion in new bonds, plus interest, to keep CIRM open. Yet that’s what Klein and others are considering putting on the ballot next year.

This time, expect more stories making emotional appeals. As I expressed in 2004, this measure is a self-serving stunt and a corporate subsidy on the backs of taxpayers.

If asked to sign a petition, I strongly urge Californians to refuse to back this initiative. Fool us once.

Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, represents the 37th District in the California Legislature.

Moorlach to speak in Corona del Mar

https://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/story/2019-09-25/political-landscape-rouda-to-speak-in-newport-a-week-after-announcing-support-for-trump-impeachment

State Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) will deliver a State of the State address at a Good Morning Corona del Mar meeting from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Oct. 10 at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, 1601 Bayside Drive.

The free public event, presented by the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce, will include complimentary refreshments and updates from representatives of local legislative offices.

377 Chualar Union 2,228 ($655) 165 -212
378 Borrego Springs Unified 4,172 ($656) 473 95
379 Perris Elementary 51,990 ($660) 386 7
380 Loomis Union Elementary 23,325 ($661) 470 90
381 Coast Unified 10,322 ($662) 631 250
382 San Jose Unified 273,335 ($662) 466 84
383 Central Union High 60,573 ($663) 287 -96
384 Pope Valley Union Elementary 793 ($665) 411 27
385 Whittier Union High 225,755 ($665) 258 -127
386 Sequoia Union High 261,419 ($666) 331 -55
387 Rosemead Elementary 28,126 ($667) 365 -22
388 Escondido Union High 177,581 ($667) 360 -28
389 Forestville Union Elementary 6,834 ($669) 455 66
390 Amador County Unified 38,626 ($669) 414 24
391 Alta Loma Elementary 57,654 ($670) 325 -66
392 Two Rock Union 1,745 ($671) 486 94
393 Oak Valley Union Elementary 1,459 ($674) 320 -73
394 Yosemite Unified 24,893 ($674) 428 34
395 Cambrian 32,850 ($679) 241 -154
396 Gateway Unified 29,936 ($681) 355 -41
397 South Bay Union 81,726 ($684) 193 -204
398 Newhall 76,378 ($693) 359 -39
399 Moraga Elementary 17,700 ($693) 546 147
400 Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified 54,453 ($693) 422 22
401 Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High 57,689 ($695) 457 56
402 Franklin-McKinley Elementary 97,698 ($696) 447 45
403 Luther Burbank 4,161 ($698) 444 41
404 Santa Barbara Unified 194,640 ($700) 445 41
405 West Side Union Elementary 1,009 ($700) 465 60
406 Ross Valley Elementary 24,272 ($702) 434 28
407 Lagunitas Elementary 3,764 ($705) 439 32
408 Merced City Elementary 88,990 ($709) 338 -70
409 Morongo Unified 72,933 ($711) 509 100
410 Acalanes Union High 118,221 ($712) 438 28
411 Helendale Elementary 6,766 ($712) 476 65
412 Westmorland Union Elementary 2,730 ($713) 481 69
413 Antelope Elementary 5,746 ($717) 453 40
414 Loma Prieta Joint Union Elementary 3,954 ($721) 757 343
415 Gold Trail Union Elementary 6,051 ($723) 523 108
416 Tipton Elementary 3,412 ($725) 430 14
417 Santee School District 61,134 ($727) 406 -11
418 Millville Elementary 1,599 ($727) 429 11
419 Spreckels Union Elementary 6,706 ($731) 395 -24
420 Alview-Dairyland Union Elementary 1,859 ($732) 539 119
421 Westwood Unified 1,627 ($732) 228 -193
422 Alum Rock Union Elementary 119,834 ($733) 472 50
423 Summerville Elementary 4,391 ($735) 483 60
424 Gerber Union Elementary 3,481 ($737) 266 -158
425 Etiwanda Elementary 92,259 ($740) 448 23
426 Santa Maria-Bonita 103,991 ($740) 378 -48
427 Kernville Union Elementary 12,311 ($743) 178 -249
428 Livingston Union 16,557 ($752) 345 -83
429 Sundale Union Elementary 2,460 ($755) 639 210
430 Buckeye Union Elementary 37,867 ($757) 512 82
431 San Rafael City Elementary 56,743 ($761) 488 57
432 Menifee Union Elementary 86,768 ($762) 475 43
433 Bass Lake Joint Union Elementary 12,546 ($765) 456 23
434 Union Elementary 48,135 ($769) 385 -49
435 East Whittier City Elementary 75,579 ($771) 471 36
436 Salinas City Elementary 81,923 ($773) 381 -55
437 McSwain Union Elementary 5,778 ($775) 342 -95
438 Waugh Elementary 6,583 ($775) 529 91
439 Manzanita Elementary 1,148 ($783) 516 77
440 Ocean View 18,164 ($783) 839 399
441 Roseville City Elementary 91,553 ($783) 499 58
442 Seeley Union Elementary 3,133 ($790) 600 158
443 Mariposa County Unified 17,347 ($791) 391 -52
444 Los Gatos Union Elementary 29,586 ($792) 400 -44
445 Vallecitos Elementary 2,328 ($792) 317 -128
446 Enterprise Elementary 32,626 ($795) 432 -14
447 Jacoby Creek Elementary 2,678 ($800) 682 235
448 Mesa Union Elementary 3,848 ($801) 436 -12
449 Oroville City Elementary 28,363 ($803) 425 -24
450 Mountain Valley Unified 2,870 ($803) 590 140
451 Rescue Union Elementary 35,588 ($804) 555 104
452 Centinela Valley Union High 156,241 ($805) 727 275
453 Cloverdale Unified 11,131 ($808) 347 -106
454 Pacifica 39,411 ($809) 372 -82
455 Kingsburg Joint Union High 18,505 ($809) 358 -97
456 Washington Union Elementary 7,305 ($810) 519 63
457 Redondo Beach Unified 69,280 ($811) 739 282
458 Dixie Elementary 21,997 ($813) 515 57
459 Nuestro Elementary 316 ($814) 487 28
460 San Gabriel Unified 43,236 ($818) 657 197
461 Sylvan Union Elementary 76,545 ($820) 504 43
462 Ackerman Charter 2,855 ($822) 18 -444
463 Hydesville Elementary 1,386 ($823) 527 64
464 Turlock Unified 86,203 ($824) 559 95
465 Potter Valley Community Unified 2,078 ($826) 550 85
466 Los Alamitos Unified 50,834 ($832) 426 -40
467 Live Oak Elementary 23,633 ($835) 489 22
468 Cypress Elementary 47,025 ($837) 423 -45
469 Byron Union Elementary 16,360 ($838) 482 13
470 Lemoore Union Elementary 25,893 ($840) 479 9

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