Both sides in CA's stem-cell debate up PR before vote

LOS ANGELES: A stem-cell research initiative dubbed Proposition 71 is shaping up to be California's most controversial ballot measure for the November 2 election, spawning fierce PR efforts on both sides of the issue that involve celebrities, politicians, and business titans.

LOS ANGELES: A stem-cell research initiative dubbed Proposition 71 is shaping up to be California's most controversial ballot measure for the November 2 election, spawning fierce PR efforts on both sides of the issue that involve celebrities, politicians, and business titans.

If passed, the $3 billion measure would create the largest state-funded scientific research project in the US, making California an international leader in stem-cell research. Proponents of the measure have hired heavyweight Democratic campaign strategist Roger Salazar, as well as Studio City-based Red Gate Communications. The pro-71 campaign has raised more than $12 million and boasts endorsers including actor Christopher Reeve and venture capitalist John Doerr. Opponents, who have raised only $15,000, are working with Wayne Johnson of Sacramento-based Republican consultants Johnson Clark Associates. The opponents concede they will not be able to match the funds raised by their competition. That, said Johnson, makes media outreach and PR pivotal for them. Johnson said one of his key messages is that the finances of the bond measure are unsound. The initiative will be on the ballot for the general election.

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