Human Exceptionalism

Proposition 71: The New Gilded Age

When the creators of Proposition 71 spent tens of millions buying a constitutional amendment in California to permit human cloning research, they promised CURES! CURES! CURES! And what are people spending hundreds of millions of dollars of borrowed money on? EXPENSIVE FANCY BUILDINGS! EXPENSIVE FANCY BUILDINGS EXPENSIVE FANCY BUILDINGS! From the story in today’s San Francisco Chronicle:

The governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is expected to give final approval today to a package of grants that will prompt a construction boom at academic campuses throughout the state.

More than three-quarters of a billion dollars in laboratory construction will get under way as early as next month, seeded by $271 million in facilities grants made possible by the passage of Proposition 71.

And not a workable building designed by “The General,” that prefab contractor, either. We are talking high end, expensive architect, all the add-ons, type buildings. Example:

At UCSF, planners had to figure out a way to shoehorn a stem cell research center into the space-constrained confines of their hilltop Parnassus Heights campus. So they tapped one of the world’s top design firms, Rafael Viñoly Architects, which delivered a striking plan.

The Institute for Regeneration Medicine will be housed in a silver, terraced structure that snakes uphill along the winding curves of Medical Center Way – tucked behind the 16-story towers housing the campus’ major research labs.

I would have hoped that at a time when California is literally drowning in a $20 billion in deficit, that some restraint would be shown. 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.

Somebody ought to sue: Hint. Hint.

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