All posts by joel

Access is a way of life for me. Publications: I am the author of the following 3 books: · Learning to Live Again; My Triumph Over Cancer, published by Holt, Rinehart & Winston · The Politics of Food, published by Sierra Club Books and distributed by Random House· Handbook for Commissioners, Housing and Redevelopment Officials, published by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials I have published dozens of articles in my own name for such publications as The New York Times, The New Republic, The International Herald Tribune, and Information Week (http://www.informationweek.​com/534/34uwfw.htm) and have contributed to the Time-Life Books series on computers.

Rose Mallinger, 97, was the eldest of the 11 members of Pittsburgh’s Conservative congregation killed in the worst anti-Semitic attack in US history

On October 27th,eleven of my people were killed while attending Saturday morning synagogue services at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue. The synagogue is affiliated with the Conservative Jewish Movement centered at the Jewish Theological Seminary at 125th Street in New York City.

When my mother Dr. Miriam P. Schmereler was 67, she  received her doctorate in Hebrew letters from the Jewish Theological Seminary. 

Words fail in my grief and that of my people as a consequence of this the worst anti-Semitic act in U.S. history. What follows is the obituary that appeared in USA Today for Rose Mallinger, the eldest of the eleven women and men killed because they were Jewish and because as Jews our obligation to assist refugees made Pittsburgh's synagogue a target because of its support for HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society], the organization that helped settle my father Isadore, his parents and sister before World War I who fled pogroms in Russia.
The corpses of the Jews killed during the 1906 pogrom of Bialystok are laid down in the yard of the Jewish hospital


Synagogue shooting: Crowds mourn Rose Mallinger, 97, in the last funeral of 11 victims

, USA TODAYPublished 2:01 p.m. ET Nov. 2, 2018 | Updated 2:56 p.m. ET Nov. 2, 2018

Hundreds of mourners had to be turned away Friday at the funeral for 97-year-old Rose Mallinger as family, friends and community members turned out to pay their last respects to the oldest victim of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre and the last of the 11 to be laid to rest.

Despite gray, blustery weather, long lines formed early outside Rodef Shalom Temple where the services were held because the Tree of Life synagogue, the site of the shootings Saturday, has not reopened.

It was hardly surprising that Mallinger found herself at the synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill community on that fateful day when an armed man, spewing anti-Semitic epithets, opened fire.

Mallinger, who once served as school secretary at Tree of Life, was a fixture there for 60 years, regularly attending worship services with her family.

The synagogue was the “center of her very active life,” her family said in a statement. “Her involvement with the synagogue went beyond the Jewish religion. … It was her place to be social, to be active and to meet family and friends.”

“She retained her sharp wit, humor and intelligence until the very last day,” the family statement said. “She did everything she wanted to do in her life.”

Mallinger was one of six siblings, had three children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

“It’s surreal to be here because you never think of losing someone who is 97 years old to gun violence,” said Michele Organist, a friend of both Rose and her 61-year-old daughter, Andrea Wedner, who was injured in the shooting.

“I’ve known Rose a long time and it was always going to be that she was so vibrant and bright and sharp-witted that she would live past 100,” said Organist. “You knew something was going to take her eventually, but it wasn’t going to be gun violence.”

Elizabeth Murphy of Sewickley said Andrea Wedner was her dental hygienist. Murphy emerged from the visitation for Wedner’s mother, Rose, with lines of mascara running down her face.

“I moved to Pittsburgh 22 years ago from Boston thinking I came from a strong Jewish community and the Pittsburgh community has been amazingly tight,” she said. “I felt integrated in just a few years and I felt like I needed to be here with my people.”

It was not immediately clear if Wedner was unable to attend the services. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, without naming the patient, said a 61-year-old woman fitting her description remained in stable condition at the hospital.

UPMC said on Friday that the two most seriously injured victims had been moved out of the intensive care unit. Hospital officials say a 70-year-old man has been upgraded from critical to stable condition. A 40-year-old police officer remains in stable condition.

The officer was previously identified as Timothy Matson, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds. The wounded congregant is Daniel Leger, a nurse and hospital chaplain.







“Enclosed is an invitation I received from the White House” 1978

James Earl Carter Jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981

Letter to my sister


On page two, I wrote: “Also, I have another painting. This one is of a boat house on Long Island. It is neat.”

This is the painting that hung in my office in 1978: Harry Gottleib’s Ice House.
Exhibition Label
As workers like these knew well, it was cold, hard work filling the icehouses of upstate New York. In January 1934, artist Harry Gottlieb signed on with the PWAP and looked for American workers he could paint near his home in the artists’ colony of Woodstock, New York. He found these men harvesting ice off lakes and streams as local men had done every winter since the early 1800s. They sawed the thick layer of natural ice into long strips and then cut off large blocks. As Gottlieb’s painting shows, the red-faced workers dressed in warm coats used long hooks and wooden ramps to maneuver the slick, heavy ice into large commercial icehouses where they neatly stacked the blocks. Straw or sawdust packing minimized melting in warm weather. Throughout the year icehouses along the Hudson River stored ice that was shipped by train to New York City. Families and grocers put the ice into insulated iceboxes that kept food from spoiling. Artificial freezing dominated ice production after World War I, and then electric refrigerators became popular. When Gottlieb documented the natural ice business it was gradually melting away.
1934: A New Deal for Artists exhibition label
Filling the Ice House
Harry Gottlieb
On View
Not on view.
40 3/8 x 60 3/8 in. (102.5 x 153.4 cm)
Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
New Deal – Public Works of Art Project – New York State
Figure group – male
Occupation – industry – ice cutting
Object Number






Page two of two

“I HAVE a secret to tell you. Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall has mice in his office. In fact, there are mice all up and down the second floor at the U.S. Department of Labor building in Washington, D.C. I have mice in my office. There are mice in the offices of the staff. There are mice in the conference rooms. When the coal negotiations were taking place in what the papers called the “blue-curtained room down the hall from Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall’s office,” there were mouse traps.”
















Heather Smith is the heroine of the Libertarian Disability Rights Movement


Please contribute $18 for the 2018 Campaign to Elect JoelSolkoff to Congress

By PayPal please contribute $18 to [email protected]

Home of Antaeus Mobility

What a difference a year makes









Defeat Rep. Tom Marino

In September 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Marino to serve as the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (“drug czar”).[15][1] In October, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) called on Trump to withdraw Marino’s nomination.[20]Trump said he would “look into” reports about Marino, putting his nomination in question.[21] On October 17, 2017, Marino withdrew his nomination.[2]


















Love letter 1973

Gayle was one of those beautiful women who said No after my proposing. As with the others, I was fortunate because Gayle lingered for a delicious while before making the negative apparent

She arrived in a psychedelic bus from New Haven, Connecticut. The tarot cards Gayle read to me in the garden of the red house, Bernal Heights, San Francisco, did not simply predict my future.










Beach adventure on the Pacific astonishingly similar to a Fellini beach scene



To be continued… [ and how]



Detail from my arrest last month

Work in progress


Walls and bars do not a prison make










This is the cool prison next to the new prison. My prison.

This is the cool prison next door. Ignore, the discussion about rape. No one wanted to rape me.









Walls and bars do not a prison make





















1973 Letter to my literary agent seeking her help to break a book contract on how Timothy Leary escaped from prison

Letter to Marie Rodell June 1973



Marie Freid Rodell (January 31, 1912 – November 9, 1975) was a literary agent and author who managed the publications of much of environmentalist Rachel Carson‘s writings, as well as the first book by civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr..

Rodell was born in New York City, and attended Vassar College (B.A. 1932). After nine years as an editor for mystery novels, Rodell formed her own literary agency in 1948.[1] That year she met Rachel Carson, who hired her. She worked with Carson for the remainder of Carson’s life, and after Carson’s death in 1964 became her literary executor; she compiled and organized the Rachel Carson Papers (which took over two years) and arranged for the posthumous publication of A Sense of Wonder.[2] In 1957 she was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s literary agent for Stride Toward Freedom.[1]


“Marie: This is the understanding hat I have with Joanna in relation to this book. This book will be Joanna’s view of  her love story with Timothy Leary as told to Joel Solkoff.”



Sampling from a five page letter


It is therefore necessary for Joanna Harcourt-Smith Leary to agree to the following conditions in writing.”

  1. Anything contained in the final draft of our book will be agreed to by each of us.That means that I can veto anything I don’t like and t she can veto anything she doesn’t like.  That means we will constantly be fighting until there is a state of equilibrium.”



Page one









I took this photograph of Joanna Harcourt-Smith on the Friday before Mother’s Day, 1973









Page two

Page two of five pages










Now, even considering the above, this is why I am bothering with the scene:

  1. For the first time in my life I am dealing with brilliant minds on an equal basis with the opportunity of making some money and advancing my career. (I define my career, incidently, as the ability to make a steady income from playing with words.”


In the beginning there was Oui Magazine






In May I began to search for the next source to supplement my income publishing for the Village Voice. That month, another publication went out of business.. That publication had paid me to cover the World Series of Rodeo in Oklahoma City. I had finished the article and having trouble selling it. I was in search of the next idea to propose to a magazine and then I was inside the Timothy Leary inner circle.



3653-24th Street. pt 1

San Francisco, California 94110

July 26, 1973

“Dear Marie:

Monday, I visited Timothy Lear in Folsom Prison. I am now on his approved visiting list and am able to to wee him four times a month, six hours at a stretch. My visit convinced me your advice is sound. My relationship with Tim and Joanna is clearly wasting my time.

Joanna was in New York last week becoming famous for Bantam Books. I very much wanted you and she to meet. She is in need of some intelligent information on why it is that most people do not regard Tim Leary as the messiah.

Joanna is a brilliant woman who is very much in love with Timothy Leary. She is frightened because she suspects Tim’s claims of omnipotence will suddenly manifest themselves as nonsense.

Joanna fears the time may come when she will be unable to remain in love with the man for whom she abandoned everything.

Copyright © 2018 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved.






















Maren Morris – My Church

Maren Morris’ debut album HERO, featuring “”I Could Use A Love Song”

Now available: Apple Music: Amazon








[Verse 1:]
I’ve cheated and I’ve lied
I’ve fallen down from grace
A few too many times
But I find holy redemption
When I put this car in drive
Roll the windows down and turn up the dial
Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my churchhat’s my church


Maren Larae Morris[1] (born April 10, 1990)[2][3][4] is an American country music singer, songwriter, and record producer. She has released four studio albums. Her 2015 extended playMaren Morris, charted on two Billboard charts. Her major label debut album, Hero, reached number five on the Billboard200 chart and number one on the Top Country Albums chart.[5]

Her debut single, “My Church“, peaked at number one on the Country Digital Songs chart in 2016 and reached the top five on the US Hot Country Songs chart and won aGrammy for Best Country Solo Performance.[6] Her third single, “I Could Use a Love Song”, was her first to reach number one on the Country Airplay Charts. She provided vocals for “The Middle“, a pop collaboration with Zedd and Grey, released in January 2018, which reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.[7]





On Saturday August 11th at 9:15 I was arrested on the street where I live for trying to get to synagogue

PA Transportation Sec. Leslie Richards tramples my rights  & those of my 88 low-income disabled & elderly neighbors  to pray

Richards is  a liberal Democrat appointed by Governor Tom Wolf. for whom my friend Bonnie supported when she ran for office in Montgomery County, Never again.


PA Secretary of Transportation Richards controls from afar (an hour 15 minute drive away) the  ability of 89 low-income elderly and disabled residents to leave and enter our de facto nursing home. Her remote control autocracy unconstitutionally prevents me from exercising my First Amendment righ to pray to God. That is not all. Sec. Richards has in effect created a ghetto separating our residence Addison Court from the daily lives of the rest of the Downtown State College Community. You have come to the right posting for details.















Form releasing me from jail on my own recognizance









The route to synagogue before Sec. Richards destroyed it


How Sec. Richards prevented me from attending synagogue

From a regional office in Clearfield, a rural former coal mining town an hour and fifteen minute drive away from State College, Penn Dot administers the street on which I live ( and noteworthy its sidewalks). I filmed this video the week during  I was arrested.


How my fellow Jews pray in the only synagogue I tried to pray open that August Sabbath



Class B villain: State College Police Chief John Gardner

August 2016. Channel 6. WJAC.
STATE COLLEGE – After searching for a replacement for several months, the borough announced on Monday night that John Gardner will be the new police chief.Gardner has been the assistant chief for over 26 years. He is taking over for Tom King, who has been chief for the past 23 years. Gardner, who graduated from Philipsburg Osceola High School in 1974, was introduced on Tuesday during a news conference.He went on to study at Penn State, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Individual and Family Studies and he received his master’s degree in Administration of Justice from Shippensburg University.










Chronology of my attempt to get arrested, my final success in getting arrested, my time in jail, my time at Mt. Nittany Medical Center while still under arrest, my appearance in Commonwealth Court, and my next appearance in Court for jury selection

I. Request to be arrested at 7 PM at the Monday August 8, 2018 Regular meeting of the Borough of State College. [ Footnote 1.]

Agenda V called for public comment for which I was given four minutes. In advance, I had passed out hard copy to all Borough Council members, staff, and understandably small audience. of this blog post:


In advance, I had arranged to show the Borough Council the 3 minute plus  video above filmed earlier that Monday showing that construction made it impossible given the traffic and absence of sidewalks (under repair) to synagogue on Saturday. I noted, reading this press release:

To: Mayor Donald Hahn, Borough Manager Tom Fontaine, Solicitor Terry Williams, Esq. and the unfit members of the State College Borough Council

From: Joel Solkoff, [email protected]

7 PM: Four minute praise of Mayor Hahn, Borough Manager Tom Fontaine, and denunciation of all members of the State College Borough Council (all of whom, sadly, are Democrats).

7:30: My arrest on Beaver Avenue between Allen and Pugh



At 7:05, I scooted to the desk where Police Chief Gardner was sitting and politely asked him to arrest me.

Chief Gardner was less than polite telling me we could talk about it later and “work something out.” I insisted that I wanted to be arrested immediately. He said he was busy paying attention to the meeting. He may have been paying attention but he was certainly not usefully employed given that the next item (which was a waste of a police chief’s time) was: Petition to Vacate a portion of E Alley between Hill Alley and Prospect Avenue.

Clothed in politeness, I did not tell him what I thought. Instead, I said, “Don’t worry, I can find another police officer to arrest me.”

From the elevator, I scooted to the police office on the first floor of the Borough Hall to left of the Allen Street entrance where the expensive and unnecessary automatic doors for the mobility disabled are frequently broken.

The office for the police was closed. I drove my scooter two blocks away to Beaver Avenue–two blocks away–positioning myself slighty to the right of the Allen Street light and parked my scooter  [sadly not an Amigo Mobility brand] on the middle of the street.

There where several hours of daylight left. Cars, trucks, buses and vans honked and several angry motorists hurled curse words at me. I saw a police officer to the right a quarter block away speaking loudly asking him to arrest me before I made even more of a disturbance.



I was born in New York City in 1947. From 1965 to 1969, I attended Columbia College at 116th Street and Broadway. Not once did I or any of my classmates ever check to see whether the traffic light was red or green when we crossed broadway to drink beer at the West End Bar and Restaurant.  Instead, if the traffic on Broadway was moving slowly we automatically stepped in front of slow moving cars which a sixth sense told us would stop if we stepped in front. In short, my world view was and ontinues to be distinctly different from Centre Country. Routinely, I take my motorized wheel chair across Beaver Avenue when it is safe enough often causing locals to freak out and yell when I cross safely but idiosyncratically.

By comparison, the vast majjority of my 89 neighbors at Addison Court–an eight story “independent living center”– have never been to New York City. My friends and neighbors often find themselves horrified to be living in Downtown State College. Downtown being the operative word.

About 20 of my neighbors never leave their beds let alone their apartments. They are cared for by an assortment of health care workers who receive minimum wage–most of whom do not have health insurance.  Most of these health care workers live outside the small confines of the Borough of State College which has a population of 45,000.  The Borough is politically dominated by Democrats who regard themselves as liberals. The Mayor has no political power. The power in the Borough resides in the hands of seven members of the Council whose incompetence is noteworthy. Ever the optimist, I assume that the Manhattanization of Downtown is a consequence of their laziness as surrounding the glorified low-income nursing home where I live is being taken over by the forces of Mammon.

Last year, a multi-storied Hyatt opened for business. On the Thursday before the blue and white football game, the Hyatt charged $450 for one night for a room. The attitude of the Borough mothers and fathers is that Addison Court is an inconvenience. When Beaver Avenue is not clogged with traffic especially during the evening rush hour, private cars rush by at speeds of 55 miles an hour despite the 25 mile an hour speed limit and which is not enforced and despite the presence of elderly and disabled pedestrians trying to cross. Afraid, my fellow residents– whose locomotion is dependent upon walkers, canes, and manual wheel chairs–all too often limit their outdoor excursions to sitting in the parking lot watching traffic.

I have begun an oral history project. Here is my friend and neighbor Scott Carter.



  1. Meeting Agenda
    State College Borough Council
    Regular Meeting
    Monday, August 6, 2018
    7:00 p.m.
  2. xyz
  3. xyz