June 8, 2023

Corporate Dark Money too easily undermines democracy
“America’s Doctor:” Outlining issues with Dr. Oz’s pseudoscience
Out Latina Ari Gutierrez Arambula launches campaign
Sarah McBride seeks reelection to Delaware State Senate seat
This Fall, Long Beach could send the next AOC to Congress
I Matter-Girls empowerment conference at East LA College 
Tropical Storm Kay reaches Southern California
Thursday: Another brutal day as Flex Alert is issued for Day 9
California braces for 8th straight day of heat & flex alerts
Maximum conservation efforts are urged as Blackouts loom
West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week
Sheriff’s detectives seek potential victims WeHo sex assault case
West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week
West Hollywood distributes test strips to bars for date-rape drugs
West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval cancelled, third year in-a-row
Two shot during follow home robbery, LAPD needs public’s help
Former fire fighter sparks Black LGBTQ+ LA rally for Brittney Griner
LAPD: Body found on fire hanging in tree in Griffith Park likely a suicide
LAPD respond after protestors disrupt LA City Council vote on homeless
LAPD increases patrol force by 200 in Hollywood to combat rising crime
Longtime LGBTQ+ journalist & editor Thomas Senzee dies at 54
Trans Palm Springs Mayor responds to anti-LGBTQ+ Texas Governor
Historic swearing in of Lisa Middleton as Palm Springs Mayor
Everything you need to know about Palm Springs Pride this weekend
The LGBTQ Center of the Desert reopens in Palm Springs
The San Diego Union-Tribune: Tijuana Gay Men’s Chorus
San Diego County man charged with a hate crime after homophobic attack
Trans woman ‘viciously attacked’ in men’s jail cell lawsuit says
US Navy Fleet Oiler & supply ship, USNS Harvey Milk launches
Dignitaries tour the 60% completed USNS Harvey Milk
Supreme Court: Yeshiva University can block LGBTQ student club
Derogatory racial slur removed from federal geographic names use
Largest school district in Florida rejects LGBTQ+ history month
Court: Employer provided insurance can exclude coverage of PrEP
U.S. Senate Majority Leader promises same-sex marriage bill vote
The King’s speech to the UK, the Commonwealth & the world
Queen Elizabeth II dies
Meet Argentina’s special envoy for LGBTQ+ and intersex rights
Saudi Arabia & five Gulf Arab states tell Netflix remove content
Court in Iran sentences two activists to death for ‘promoting homosexuality’
Texas Christians attack AIDS prevention drugs
What letters from a nun taught me about religious (in)tolerance
This gay boy tried to die- he & his Mom desperate to talk to you
Queerness of Gen Z being used to promote school privatization
You can’t hate kid-friendly drag shows & love cheerleaders
Transphobic hate & doxxing site Kiwifarms blocked by Cloudflare
Iconic villain is out of the closet in final ‘Saul’ season
Triple A: Survey indicates travel will be popular beyond Labor Day
Far-right extremist anti-LGBTQ+ online trolls attack Trevor Project
Trail-Blazing trans artist Gio Bravo, brings hot fun erotic masculinity
Iconic villain is out of the closet in final ‘Saul’ season
‘A League of Their Own’ series proves there is crying in baseball
For Gaiman fans, ‘Sandman’ is a ‘Dream’ come true
NPH is ‘Uncoupled’ in new Netflix sitcom
The Los Angeles Blade congratulates KTLA on its L.A.-area Emmy awards
The annual LA Times 101 list is here at last
Hit Instagram smash burger pop-up Chris N Eddy’s debuts in Hollywood
LA’s comeback, a lesbian community leader has a starring role
West Hollywood’s ‘Out On Robertson’ official launch
Give Daddy what he deserves
“Hamilton” creators donate monetary damages to LGBTQ+ group
Playwright queers a famous president in ‘Lavender Men’
“Hadestown” now at LA’s Ahmanson Theater
Barrier-breaking lesbian does a ‘Death-Defying Escape’ in her new play
Near-naked Ambition: ‘The Comics Strip’ is getting more exposure
New doc illuminates Patricia Highsmith’s life and work
Director of ‘They/Them’ on queering the horror genre
Porter makes directorial splash with ‘Anything’s Possible’
In ‘Neptune Frost,’ the future is nonbinary
Dorian Awards cast a queer eye on television
Trail-Blazing trans artist Gio Bravo, brings hot fun erotic masculinity
“I know it can be hard to wake up to something so unreal-” Raue rocks LA
Bryan Ruby, Out baseball player & Out Country Music star: 2 icons in 1
CMA bans display of ‘Confederate’ flag at major music festival, CMA Fest 
Greyson Chance is Out Louding Proud, & portraying gay icons (Again!)
New book examines overcoming inequality at home
Two new political memoirs reveal how the sausage of democracy is made
Love of baseball unites father, gay son
Calhoun and O’Hara give us hope that art will still be a life force
New queer biographies make for ideal summer reading
“This kind of hostile school climate puts trans youth at greater risk of harassment, mental health challenges or discrimination”
ANNANDALE, Va – During a “Parents Matter” rally on Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin called for schools to out trans and gender nonconforming students to their parents and guardians, prompting a rebuke from GLSEN. 
The organization’s Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers condemned the Governor’s comments in an exclusive emailed statement to The Los Angeles Blade, writing: “It’s devastating to see politically motivated attempts to break trust between students and educators and to force educators to violate students’ privacy by outing them to guardians.” 
They added, “This kind of hostile school climate puts trans youth at greater risk of harassment, mental health challenges or discrimination. Transgender and nonbinary students need respect and autonomy, not additional scrutiny and policing of their gender identity in school.”
Gov. Youngkin comments on the subject addressed Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) Regulation 2603, which stipulates that students may choose to use pronouns and restrooms/facilities that correspond with their gender identities and transition their genders without parental permission. 
“They think that parents have no right to know what your child is discussing with their teacher or their counselor, particularly when some of the most important topics, most important topics that a child may want to discuss are being determined,” the Governor said during the back-to-school event Wednesday. 
“What’s their name? What pronoun will they use? How are they going to express their gender? This is a decision that bureaucrats in Fairfax County believe that they should be able to make without telling parents,” Gov. Youngkin said. 
Protecting students’ privacy is a core element of “A Guide for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students,” published by GLSEN and the ACLU. 
The document tells students their schools should act to prevent harassment and bullying, facilitate their access to their preferred restrooms and facilities, and protect their privacy “by not revealing that you are transgender to others unless you have given them permission to do so,” adding, “your school should not be outing you to anyone.” 
“It’s time that Gov. Youngkin stops using trans students’ lives to gain political points at the expense of their safety and well-being,” said Equality Virginia in a statement. “Transgender and nonbinary students are not going anywhere, and we need to treat them with the respect and care that they deserve. The governor’s administration needs to hear and really listen to what transgender youth in our schools have to say about their experiences, and ensure that there are policies in place to protect them. By instead making open threats to their rights, the administration is failing transgender students in Virginia and contributing to hostile school environments for our youth.”
Gov. Youngkin’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the apparent conflict between the tenets of this guidance and the Governor’s comments on Wednesday.

President Biden warns “equality & democracy are under assault”
Marjorie Taylor Greene accuses Biden of supporting castrating boys
Supreme Court: Yeshiva University can block LGBTQ student club
Texas Christians attack AIDS prevention drugs
Largest school district in Florida rejects LGBTQ+ history month
“California state lawmakers just voted to keep you in the dark when it comes to defective products and environmental hazards in the state”
By Karen Ocamb | WEST HOLLYWOOD – “Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal,” said President Joe Biden in a recent primetime address on the battle to preserve democracy.
In his speech, the president detailed the “threat to the very soul of this country,” saying, “We’re all called, by duty and conscience, to confront extremists who will put their own pursuit of power above all else.” 
Stirring words. But what Biden failed to note is the normalization of corrosive corrupt dark money used to influence politics since the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United. Today, the Brennan Center for Justice reports, “big money dominates U.S. political campaigns to a degree not seen in decades.” 
More recently, the public learned about a $1.6 billion donation from a 90-year old, ultra-secretive Chicago manufacturing magnate to the ultra-conservative legal nonprofit Federalist Society, which ProPublica describes as “one of the prime architects of conservatives’ efforts to reshape the American judicial system, including the Supreme Court.”
But perhaps most frightening is the acceptance of the “normal” power influence wielded both overtly and surreptitiously by business-booster U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has spent $35,280,000 in lobbying since the beginning of 2022, though their actual monetary contributions were a mere $242,710, according to watchdog Open Secrets.  The Chamber spent $66,410,000 on lobbying in 2021. 
The insidiousness of that inculcated political power trickles down to state chambers, as well, including the California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber), whose “Job Killer” list is anticipated with dread at the beginning of each legislative session. The CalChamber takes ruthless pride in its Machiavellian ability to kill even the most significant public interest bills. 
On March 28, CalChamber announced its list of 11 “Job Killer” bills. As of Sept. 7, the list was updated to 90 bills the Chamber opposed, noting which were stalled or killed. SB 1149, the Public Right to Know Act, authored and carried by Senator Connie M. Leyva and co-sponsored by the nonprofit legal advocacy organization Public Justice and the impeccably reputable Consumer Reports, was 77 on the Chamber’s list. 
Leyva introduced the Public Right to Know Act in February as a bill that would protect Californians from life-threatening dangers hidden by secret settlements and other legal maneuvers.
“It is unconscionable that vital information that could protect the safety and lives of Californians could be kept from the public because of decisions that seem to prioritize the bottom line of companies than the well-being of residents across our state,” Leyva said.  “SB 1149 will right this wrong by making sure that dangerous public hazards are not hidden behind legal documents and walls.  We have seen several examples of secrecy in litigation leading to tremendous public harm, so I look forward to working on this critical legislation that aims to protect the public by ensuring that information about defects and hazards created by companies and individuals are not hidden behind a veil of secrecy.”
A team of legal experts and witnesses testified in support of the bill, sharing numerous examples of harm and even death kept shrouded in court secrecy that could have been prevented if SB 1149 had been in place.
Amy Cooper testified how her 26-year old son died of an OxyContin overdose, medication prescribed by doctors who believed Purdue Pharma was telling the truth when they said the popular painkiller was not addictive, launching the opioid epidemic.
Attorney Lori Andrus testified about the horrors of Bayer’s Essure permanent birth control implant, which the company knew and kept under court seal. 
“The devices consisted of two small metal coils, one to be placed in each fallopian tube,” she said. “The devices were designed to cause inflammation and to prompt scar tissue to form around the coils in the women’s abdomen, thus blocking sperm from reaching her ovaries. The women who filed suit alleged multiple problems with these devices. The devices could break. They could perforate the fallopian tube. They could migrate around the abdomen. They could puncture and become lodged in nearby organs. They could also result in ectopic pregnancies. An ectopic pregnancy is where the fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus. That can cause the death of the mother. It’s a terrible event and it should be avoided.”
SB 1149 passed the California Senate 26-10 and passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee 7-1, with Assembly Judiciary Committee Chair Mark Stone rejecting the feigned arguments presented by CalChamber and the Civil Justice Association of CA. 
“The case that they really want to make is that the consumer protection laws are there to compensate for injury, which means that they’re not a deterrent and they’re not preventative of injuries,” said Stone. “That is just inhumane. And it’s just astonishing to me to think of defects and environmental hazards being considered trade secrets. None of the companies I have ever worked for would’ve considered such as trade secrets. But yet, in this context, the whole current way that the opposition want to construct the consumer protection law would mean that defects are part of someone’s trade secrets. That is kind of astonishing to me.”
Nonetheless, despite numerous news reports and a Los Angeles Times editorial titled “Safety should not be a secret” and reams of messaging noting that the bill explicitly protected legitimate trade secrets and confidential information, CalChamber successfully pushed a massive campaign of lies and deceit
SB 1149   Leyva D  ( History)  ( Position Letters) Disclosure of Trade Secrets:
Increased Litigation, and outlawing settlement practices. Re-writes long-standing use of protective orders in lawsuits, as well as outlawing non-disclosure agreements as part of settlements based on vague terminology. Will force companies to settle early so as to avoid public release of broad documents south in discovery, as well as overwhelm California courts with unprecedented discovery fights as companies seek to protect their trade secrets.
Status: 8/31/2022-Failed Deadline pursuant to Rule 61(b)(18).
With 41 votes needed to pass, SB 1149 failed on the Assembly floor with 31 Aye votes, 18 No votes – and 31 abstentions.  Consumer Reports issued an urgent Action Alert to have the bill brought up again.
“California state lawmakers just voted to keep you in the dark when it comes to defective products and environmental hazards in the state – caving into pressure from Big Business that doesn’t want you to know about safety risks!” the CR Alert said in part. “The California Assembly Monday failed to get the votes needed to pass the Public Right to Know Act, which would have banned “secrecy agreements” in legal cases that keep facts about dangerous products or hazards hidden from the public in sealed court records. The bill died because 31 of the 80 Assemblymembers simply didn’t vote. We are outraged by this shirking of responsibility, and hope you are too!” 
But there was just not enough time to secure the votes. CalChamber won, targeting legislators with misinformation and arm-twisting. 
After thanking the diverse SB 1149 coalition, Leyva said: “It is unconscionable that some companies would prioritize profits over people’s lives, but that is exactly what is happening in courthouses across our state.  Though SB 1149 was only a couple steps away from being sent to the Governor’s desk, some moderate members of the Assembly decided to side with businesses and courthouse secrecy, instead of standing up for what is right: keeping companies accountable and preventing future injuries or deaths.” 
Kristina Bas Hamilton, principle at KBH advocacy and lead lobbyist on SB 1149, also noted that “the governor’s support is not a given and extensive work would need to be done to cultivate it.”
“Secrecy in the courts kills and it is well past time to stop this practice,” said CAOC Legislative Director Nancy Peverini. “Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) fully supports efforts to give the public the information they need to protect their families and were proud to work with Public Justice and Consumer Reports on this effort.” 
But noted legal ethics Professor Richard Zitrin, who took the Public Justice lead in advocating for the bill, was livid.
“Some members of the California Assembly put their own interests ahead of public safety by either voting against or abstaining,” he said after the bill died before the end of session. “This bill would’ve saved thousands of lives a year. It would have cut courtroom secrecy so that the truth about dangerous products would become known to the public and, equally important — known to prescribing physicians and to regulators. Without this, courthouse secrecy will continue and lives will continue to be lost and people will continue to be harmed. In my personal opinion, the failure of some legislators to vote in favor of this bill is an act of cowardice…. I underestimated the power of self-interest.”
Just days after the Public Right to Know Act failed in the California Assembly, the New York Times published an expose entitled: “How Abbott Kept Sick Babies From Becoming a Scandal.” “Abbott’s lawyers at Jones Day negotiated secret settlements and used scorched earth tactics with families whose infants fell ill after consuming powdered formula,” The Times reported.

Karen Ocamb, an award winning veteran journalist and the former editor of the Los Angeles Blade, has chronicled the lives of LGBTQ+ people in Southern California for over 30 plus years.
She is currently the Director of Media Relations for Public Justice.
Newport Beach-based cardiologist Dr. Danielle Belardo says Oz is a symptom of broader & more systemic problems in American healthcare systems
NEWPORT BEACH, Ca – By now, most folks are probably familiar with the widely ridiculed video released by Mehmet Oz’s Senatorial campaign, which followed his journey through a supermarket’s produce section on a mission to find ingredients for a crudité platter (otherwise known as a vegetable tray).
Oz’s Democratic opponent in the Senate race, Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, was quick to join the online mockery over the viral video, which began with the celebrity doctor’s announcement that he was at “Wegners” (not a real place, though possibly a portmanteau of Wegmans and Redner’s, two actual grocery chains with stores in Pennsylvania.) 
In response, the Oz camp told Business Insider that had he “ever eaten a vegetable in his life,” perhaps Fetterman would not have suffered a stroke in May. That provoked a strong rebuke from Real Doctors Against Oz, a group of more than 100 Pennsylvania physicians who have vocally raised their objections to the candidate’s habit of promoting dangerous pseudoscience and dubious medical advice. 
But Oz’s peers in the scientific and medical community have been sounding the alarm about these concerns well before his campaign’s suggestion that a plate of crudité keeps the stroke away, as Newport Beach-based cardiologist Dr. Danielle Belardo told The Los Angeles Blade on Friday. 
Co-chair of the American Society for Preventive Cardiology Nutrition Committee, Dr. Belardo is an influential advocate for science-based medicine and accurate communication about health and nutrition, including through her podcast “Wellness: Fact vs. Fiction.” 
She told The Blade Oz is a symptom of broader and more systemic problems in the American healthcare system. And if elected, he would gain even more power and influence at a time in which the internet and social media have, by orders of magnitude, accelerated the spread of false information about science and medicine. 
“America’s Doctor” has already caused tremendous harm
Oz’s credentials are impeccable. It was not for no reason that Oz was once hailed by The New York Times as “one of the most accomplished cardiothoracic surgeons of his generation.” Triple board certified, he was vice-chair of Columbia University’s surgery department, the author of hundreds of peer-reviewed papers, and the recipient of several patents. Dr. Belardo pointed to his involvement in the creation of the MitraClip – a device used to treat leaky heart valves that effectively replaced the conventional treatment, a far riskier open-heart surgery. (A study by the New England Journal of Medicine found it could save millions of lives.) 
Oz’s subsequent “foray into pseudoscience,” Dr. Belardo said, “was quite a departure from his previous career.” 
After becoming a public figure through his appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Oz won a national audience and a wildly popular daytime TV program. There, he embraced and promoted ideas about science and medicine that, in many cases, even a layperson would be capable of correctly identifying as pseudoscientific quackery. (The reasons why he chose this path are a mystery not worth exploring here. A lengthy 2013 New Yorker profile offers some answers, none that are particularly satisfying.) 
According to research in the British Medical Journal, which analyzed the overall quality of health claims made on “The Dr. Oz Show,” fewer than half of a sample of recommendations made on the program were supported by any credible evidence. 
Below is semi-complete accounting of the ways in which Oz abused his platform as “America’s Doctor” over 13 seasons from 2009 to 2022.

Oz is not alone
Few American physicians can boast of professional accomplishments in science and medicine that rival Oz’s. None have attained his level of celebrity. But with respect to providers who peddle pseudoscience despite having the education and professional training to know better, or despite having ties to respected institutions like academic research hospitals, Oz is not unique.
Dr. Belardo pointed to Mark Hyman of the renowned Cleveland Clinic, a trained MD who “promotes tons of misinformation about pseudoscience…selling things like detoxes and cleanses.” The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) branded him the “Dr. Oz of nutrition” for peddling pseudoscientific “lies” about dietary health, once going as far as to compare the harms of processed foods to the Holocaust. Hyman practices “functional medicine,” which ACSH described as “a form of alternative medicine that encompasses a number of unproven and disproven methods and treatments.”
“Unlike politics, when it comes to science there is no ‘two sides,’” Dr. Belardo said. “Scientific evidence is a process of critically evaluating data in a systematic and rigorous way and interpreting that data,” she said. Unlike politics, it’s based on facts, not feelings.
Likewise, “There’s no such thing as ‘alternative medicine’ and ‘regular medicine’ – there’s just medicine,” Dr. Belardo said, adding: “If something that might be considered ‘alternative’ has enough robust scientific evidence, it would be included in medical care” – for instance, in the guidelines published and maintained by major medical organizations.
“Alternative medicine” covers a variety of practices, often with fuzzy definitions and unclear distinctions. Among many others, common terms include “complementary and alternative medicine,” “wellness,” “integrated” or “integrative medicine,” “holistic medicine,” and “natural” or “naturopathic medicine.” 
They are all pseudoscience – lacking biological plausibility, testability, reproducibility or repeatability, or evidence of their safety and efficacy (as gathered via clinical trials) – the very standards that, by contrast, are demanded of the diagnostic tools, pharmacological treatments, surgical procedures, and other forms of care offered in traditional medicine.
Sometimes, alternative medicine is provided as a supplement to traditional, evidence-based care, in which case it can be benign or even helpful – insofar as it may have a placebo effect or provide comfort to patients. In other cases, for a variety of reasons, people forego care from legitimate medical providers in favor of those practicing pseudoscience. 
Complicating matters is the fact that it can often be very hard to tell the difference, Dr. Belardo said: “Predatory pseudoscientific providers prioritize and take advantage of the people who don’t understand the scientific process.” They typically use scientific language that only those with formal medical training would be able to recognize as bogus – and even doctors can be misled. 
“Even though I’m a physician, I still can get duped and confused about scientific claims that are outside my specialty,” Dr. Belardo said. She added that some of the claims about “clean” beauty products – billed as less harmful to the skin and body because they are free from synthetic chemicals – looked facially plausible to her but did not hold up to scrutiny by “rigorously scientific dermatologists.”  
Practitioners with formal training in legitimate medicine like Hyman and Oz further “muddy the waters,” Dr. Belardo said, lending the veneer of legitimacy to pseudoscientific practices while sowing doubt and mistrust towards lifesaving evidence-based medicine.
Pseudoscience kills
The financial incentives for practicing pseudoscience are considerable. The providers and businesses associated with non-evidence based medical practice (like supplement companies) are making lots of money, Dr. Belardo said. The industry is also backed by a powerful lobby and faces far less regulation than traditional medicine. 
Many patients seeing pseudoscientific providers will pay out-of-pocket for products, supplements, treatments, and procedures that are often not covered by insurance and have not been proven safe, nor shown any therapeutic effect for the treatment of any disease or health condition. 
Other patients will suffer physical harms. Dr. Belardo said she has seen arrythmias, liver toxicity and failure, and bad interactions with prescribed heart medicines from patients because they were treated by an alternative provider who gave them underregulated herbal medications and supplements. 
That is hardly the full extent of the problem, however. “When we think about harms we’re not just talking about unregulated supplements – which can cause harms – but rather, something I see frequently, harms from misdiagnoses,” Dr. Belardo said. In such cases, the patient sees “an alternative provider and it delays the diagnosis of an underlying medical condition that requires guideline-directed medical therapy and treatment.”  
Dr. Belardo recounted a case where a gastroenterologist in her practice saw a patient who had been prescribed supplements for an iron deficiency, under the care of an alternative provider who did not perform a workup to determine the underlying cause of her condition. When Dr. Belardo’s colleague did a colonoscopy/upper endoscopy on the patient, per the diagnostic protocol, she discovered stage 4 colon cancer. “Had that been caught two years earlier, it would be a different scenario,” Dr. Belardo said. 
There are even more extreme examples of negligent and harmful practices by alternative providers. For example, a few years ago, a California patient died after a naturopathic doctor intravenously administered curcumin as a supposed treatment for eczema. The provider was previously among 34 defendants served with a lawsuit for their use or advertising of so-called “ozone therapies,” through which the toxic gas is injected into joints or into a patient’s rectum or vagina with a catheter. 
In 2020, a practice in Dallas was ordered to stop claiming that ozone therapy can cure covid, an example of a larger trend identified by Canada’s Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP), which wrote in 2020 that “Alternative medicine practitioners are leveraging the fear around coronavirus to sell products and procedures that are scientifically unproven.”
Oz and others practicing pseudoscience accelerate the spread of false information about science and medicine
The IRPP also linked alternative medicine to the proliferation of online misinformation about covid, with different “specialties” associated with different forms of “harmful noise”: Naturopaths have recommended useless supplements as preventative solutions as well as treatments, while homeopaths have endorsed a concoction later shown to cause liver damage. Aromatherapists and acupuncturists have stepped in to offer their services, which are comparatively benign but no more useful for the prevention or treatment of covid (or any other virus, for that matter).
When it comes to harmful, false messages about vaccines, practitioners of alternative medicine are among the worst offenders. A 2018 NIH study found that childhood vaccinations were less likely to be up to date among families that consulted a practitioner of alternative (“complementary”) medicine and more likely to be up to date among families that saw a general practitioner. 
These problems get worse as Americans become less literate in health science, more susceptible to conspiratorial thinking, and more distrustful of modern medicine and legitimate health institutions. As Carl Sagan wrote, “Pseudoscience is embraced, it might be argued, in exact proportion as real science is misunderstood.”
“Unfortunately, I see it frequently and all too often,” Dr. Belardo said. “And this is actually something that physicians are seeing across the U.S., and it’s no longer just a southern California trend. With the advent of social media, pseudoscience and disinformation is accessible through the internet,” where it spreads widely and quickly, presenting problems that the medical community has been slow to understand and address. 
“Medicine is an older system. Our medical societies are just catching up with social media. The pandemic was first time many physicians who are older and who are higher up in our field began to grapple with the amount of misinformation that is spread on social media,” Dr. Belardo said. Thankfully, “major organizations are starting to take a stand,” she said, noting the American Medical Association’s pledge to intervene when misinformation about covid is spread online and on social media platforms. 
Oz’s election to Congress, certainly, would not help matters. “Just looking at his history of endorsing pseudoscientific views and non-evidence-based medicine, he is not someone capable of helping to elevate social media to a place where people can find trusted scientific information,” Dr. Belardo said. 
Oz may have soiled his reputation among his peers, but he did not earn the moniker of “America’s Doctor” or build a devoted fanbase that propelled his TV show to win nine Daytime Emmy Awards over its 13 seasons for no reason. With Americans’ confidence in Congress reaching a new low of 7% this year, is the public likelier to trust Oz’s opinion less than another Senator’s when they differ on issues like the safety of vaccines or public policy solutions to mitigate a new strain of covid? 
Lest anyone think this would come into play only in the context of immunizations and infectious disease, consider that Oz, who is armed with far greater expertise in science and medicine than now exists in the entire Congressional GOP caucus, was “just asking questions” in that segment on his show about whether conversion therapy should be considered a legitimate “treatment” for homosexuality and gender dysphoria. (Dr. Belardo called Oz’s unscientific and anti-LGBTQ+ framing of the topic “nauseating.”) 
In the Senate, Oz would have a powerful regulatory role over alternative medicine 
What is the difference between a wellness influencer and physician practicing pseudoscientific alternative medicine? Well, it might depend on where they live. To the extent that any regulation may exist, rules governing the practice of non-mainstream medicine differ tremendously state-by-state. 
Complicating matters, distinctions among the various forms of alternative medicine are unclear and confusing – as are the occupational titles and educational and training requirements of those who practice in the space. 
The classification and regulation of naturopaths provides a representative example of how alternative medicine is treated differently across different jurisdictions in America. According to overwhelming evidence presented in peer reviewed journals, naturopathic providers recommend against evidence-based medical testing, pharmacological treatments, vaccinations, and surgery in favor of unscientific diagnoses and treatments without evidentiary support. Quacks, in other words, who practice charlatanism and promote therapies that are often ineffective, harmful, and unethical. 
Seventeen U.S. states allow naturopathic doctors to use the designations ND (“Naturopathic Doctor”) or NMD (“Naturopathic Medical Doctor”). Among these states, 12 allow for some health insurance coverage. In these states, the widely discredited alternative medical practice is given the appearance of legitimacy. 
Even more alarming, 12 states and U.S. jurisdictions allow naturopaths to prescribe prescription medications, while nine allow them to perform minor surgeries. South Carolina and Tennessee specifically prohibit the practice of naturopathy. 
It is not difficult to imagine that if elected to the Senate, Oz would use his legislative powers to loosen regulations of alternative medical providers and associated industries or otherwise treat these actors favorably. 
In the absence of clear regulatory solutions to the multifaceted problems presented by alternative medicine and the spread of misinformation and disinformation, Dr. Belardo stressed the role of self-regulation by doctors – and the importance of advocating for evidence-based medicine wherever possible.

She pointed to California State Sen. Richard Pan (D-6), a practicing pediatrician as “a wonderful example.” Dr. Pan wrote a bill, signed into law in 2019, that prohibits fake medical exemptions for vaccinations of minors. For this, he was targeted with smear campaigns and violence from anti-vaccine advocates. 
In an interview with the AMA, Dr. Pan said he urges physicians to tell “their patients that the COVID vaccine is safe and effective. It’s been thoroughly evaluated, administered to hundreds of millions of people.” And “If their patients have questions, they should encourage them to ask those questions and get accurate answers from either themselves or trusted sources, like the American Academy of Pediatrics or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Dr. Belardo said other prominent figures in the medical community who have used their platforms to advocate for evidence-based science and medicine include Drs. Jennifer Gunter and Yoni Freedhoff. 
For laypeople, meanwhile, there are ways to filter out pseudoscience. Dr. Belardo said she advises her patients to find another provider if given a diagnosis or offered a treatment that contradicts with the scientific consensus of major medical organizations. These groups typically have resources and guidelines – unassailably reliable – that are written specifically for patients, she said.
“I am running because my neighbors want their elected representative to follow through. They want someone with energy & advocacy experience”
ALHAMBRA, Ca. – A longtime community advocate for equality, equity, racial and economic justice issues in Southern California, Ari Gutierrez Arambula, announced that she has launched her campaign for the District 1 seat on the Alhambra City Council.
Arambula has 35 years’ experience working with government agencies and helping them notify constituents of their actions and to help the disenfranchised secure government assistance with housing, health services, job training and more.  She grew up in a family of small business owners and she holds a Bachelor and Master’s in Business Administration.
Additionally, Mrs. Arambula brings with her the experience of founding a non-profit organization, the Latino Equality Alliance, to provide public education about equality and equity. She currently serves on the Los Angeles District Attorney’s LGBTQ Advisory Board advocating for LGBTQ social justice and the governance committee of LA County’s Health Innovation Community Partnership (HICP) informing community engagement efforts for the reuse of The Historic General Hospital Reuse project.
Her campaign received early endorsements from the Alhambra Democratic Club, Stonewall Democratic Club among others.
“I am humbled by the support of community leadership organizations that share my democratic values and are strong advocates for issues important to them,” said Arambula. “I support women’s rights, access to healthcare, local hiring, fair wages and affordable housing. I look forward to working with Alhambra residents in addressing transportation congestion, pedestrian safety, support for our local small businesses and economic and environmental challenges in the district and citywide,” she added.
Appointed by the Alhambra City Council, Arambula has served on the Design Review Board (DRB), Environmental Sustainability and the Arts and Cultural Events Commissions.
“I am running because my neighbors want their elected representative to follow through on their input. They want someone with the energy and advocacy experience to stand up for quality-of-life issues in their district including the idea of hosting a pride festival and making entertainment venues and housing more welcoming,” explains Arambula.  “I have the experience, vision and commitment to help guide Alhambra,” she added. 
As a result of Measure V, adopted by voters in November 2020, this will be the first “BY-DISTRICT” election in the history of Alhambra rather than citywide. Further, to limit undue influence by real estate developers as in past races, the new election rules allow only a $250 contribution per person, organization or PAC.  
Information about the Ari Arambula for City Council 2022 FPPC #1450029 campaign is available at: www.ari4alhambra.com.
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