Fremont activist blasts appropriations chair for sidetracking stem cell research bill

Roman Reed in Sacramento during his 2014 run for the state Senate. PHOTO/Facebook

Fremont Planning Commissioner Roman Reed lashed out at the chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee Thursday after she held a bill that would have allocated $5 million in one-time money from the state’s general fund to stem cell research.

Reed was paralyzed in 1994 during a football game while playing for Chabot College and later has became a tireless activist for finding a cure through stem cell research.

On social media, Reed said Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher “hurts people220px-Gonzalez_headshot who are paralyzed!… She hurt research and I’ll remember.”

“Her small-minded actions killed Roman’s Law for Spinal cord research. How could anyone stoop so low as her to stop funding for research for paralysis cure. She should be ashamed of herself. Absolutely Pathetic.”

Assembly Bill 214 was introduced earlier this year by Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Kevin Mullin of San Mateo.

Over the past two decades, Reed’s efforts to convince state leaders to fund stem cell research through the University of California has been hit and miss. And Reed has often enlisted local state officials for the effort on his behalf.

Former Fremont Assemblymember John Dutra successfully passed legislation named “Roman’s Law,” in 2000, and five years later seeded stem cell research for another five years.

But by 2011, legislation by then-Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski to continue funding through various methods failed for three straight years. A bill to divert $3 for traffic tickets, excluding parking infractions, was held in appropriations. A year later, Wieckowski lowered the amount to $1 for each ticket. While it was approved by the Legislature, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill.

Similar to Mullin’s current bill, Brown vetoed a bill authored by Wieckowski that would allot $1 million in general fund money for stem cell research.

Also, similar to Reed’s reaction to Gonzalez Fletcher stifling the path of AB 214 Thursday, he had harsh words for Wieckowski’s inability carry the bill into law .

“He’s 0-for-3,” Reed said of Wieckowski after he again failed to carry Roman’s Law in 2013. “We can’t afford to wait around while there are lives to be saved.” Reed later ran against Wieckowski for the open seat in the 10th State Senate District in 2014, primarily to restore state funding for stem cells research.

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