Attention Architects: US COVID-19 Deaths Will Skyrocket; You Must Build Housing for the Poor

Joel Solkoff’s Column Vol. VI, Number 3

DATELINE Wednesday, June 17, 2020. Williamsport Pennsylvania, a town of 28,000 people and a treasure trove of architecture so beautiful …….so beautiful today’s column is treating you to a look see of the Park Place Hotel completed 1865.

Today’s report on the obligation of architects to respond to the exigencies of the Corona virus comes in two parts. The first from Joel’s life threading situation in rural Middle America.

The second from e-architect’s Art Critic Sarah Schmerler who has survived in New York City where the epidemic has killed since March of this year 17,433 of her relatives, friends, and fellow residents of the largest US City.

Williamsport’s best architect Anthony H. Visco Jr. took me on a tour off the Peter Herdrc Park Hotel completed 1865.Photograph by Joel Solkoff. For additional photos on Victorian architecture in central Pennsylvania, please stay tuned.


”Some 10 employees ended up getting infected— one after using a salt shaker handed him by a colleague with the virus.”

—How Germany got the coronavirus right

by Guy Chazen, The Financial Times, June 4, 2020.

COVID-19  deaths in New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Miami, Minneapolis and nearly every urban center will be skyrocketing as a result of massive demonstrations in the wake of the police murder ( this is what Houston’s police chief calls it) of George Floyd.

New York’s Governor Andrew M Cuomo said he would be marching with the demonstrators as would I if I could walk.

When I was 14, I attended the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where I heard Dr. King preach. He spoke about a difficult passage from the Book of Mathews. “ A sin against God and the Son can be forgiven. A sin against the Holy Ghost can never be forgiven.” 

Although I am Jewish and do not believe in the divinity of Jesus, I believe Dr. King’s wisdom continues to be right on. The murdering police officer in Minneapolis can never be forgiven. President Trump will never be forgiven. The Senate Majority Leader can never be forgiven for failing to provide heath care to the poorest of our poor— part of the racism endemic to the US where last year white police officers killed 1,000 of our African-American sisters.and brothers.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s home church, The Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia founded in 1886

Black Lives Matter march across the Brooklyn Bridge.
June 4, 2020
Copyright 2020 by Ron Baron published by permission
Architectural distraction immediately below:
Wikipedia: “The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge in New York City, spanning the East River between the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Opened on May 24, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was the first fixed crossing across the East River. It was also the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its opening, with a main span of 1,595.5 feet (486.3 m) and a deck located 127 ft (38.7 m) above mean high water. The span was originally called the New York and Brooklyn Bridge or the East River Bridgebut was officially renamed the Brooklyn Bridge in 1915.

“Proposals for a bridge connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn were first made in the early 19th century, which eventually led to the construction of the current span, designed by John A. Roebling. His son Washington Roebling oversaw the construction and contributed further design work, assisted by the latter’s wife, Emily Warren Roebling.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of nearly everyone who lives in the United States, Shaking hands is verboten. Masks are worn religiously. I have long telephone conversations with friends about upgrading my mask so it exposes me to less dangerous stuff.

Governor Cuomo has emerged as a leader of distinction— widely admired for how well he is providing competence at a time when national leadership from Washington DC is
demonstrably lacking.

Meanwhile, here at Liberty Lodge, we hear tales of crowded restaurants, no one wearing masks, people booking message therapists, a world around me with frisson reminding the words written on the wall:

“You have been tried in the balance and found wanting.”

”Me’ne me’ne te’kel parsin”

The demonstrations from coast to coast against the systematic racism of our country is itself a COVID-19 issue.

In a pandemic, the first thing a prudent leader does is make sure everyone has health care.

Right now, prospective patients are discouraged from receiving Corona virus tests because the cost is too high.

The cost of living as a poor African-American woman or man is too high. Blacks in the United States do not live as long as whites. COVID-19 has already killed far more blacks than whites.

What can you architects do about helping the rest of us dealing with the pandemic?

Architects: You must use your talents to help the most vulnerable residents of the United States. We need housing that is universally accessible. We need housing that is affordable to families whose income is based on the minimus wage. Here in Pennsylvania, the minimum wage is less than $7.00 an hour.

The solution is public housing. The federal government spends $47.5 billion a year on public housing. I want you architects to earn some of this money.

Today’s column is part of a new ongoing COVID 19 series. WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE SALUTE YOU

The pronoun “ we “ is used here to include the most COVID-19 vulnerable children, adults and seniors most likely to spread the disease and die from it. They include the homeless, migrant agricultural workers, workers in the construction industry ( many of whom do not have legal documentation) senior citizens and the disabled. We do not have the housing we need.

This series focuses entirely ( the rest is merely commentary) on how to prepare you in obtaining public housing commissions.

Coming in this series will be an overview of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, a breakdown of the programs and offices and a list of whom to know and follow. For the time being note:

The person to follow is Rep. Katie Porter, a California Democrat from Orang County in the south of the state:

In Williamsport, up on Fourth Street—well past Millionaires Row is the housing women and men who earn less than $7.00 an hour live.Those earning only the Commonwealth’s minimum wage live with others like themselves.They tend to live in large houses with family members of multiple generations.Residents have little or no privacy When the Corona virus hits town with a vengeance ,these are the children, women, and men who will die.

You architects have the talent and power to design housing that is safe—as safe as you can design it for Corona virus protection. Yes, the limitations I,posed by keeping costs low can pose a problem.I.M. Pei, the Chinese born architect who designed the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. also designed public housing. One one public housing project, Pei made arrangements with Picasso about placing one of his very large pieces of sculpture at the entrance to the apartment building.

Now would be a good time to be creative.

Screenshot by me US Center for Disease Control website

Heart’s Island, Potters field for New York City, screenshot by Joel Solkoff

George Floyd murdered by a Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer. See video below.

The murder of George Floyd has led to Senator Corey Booker Democrat of New Jersey to publish and implement his too long neglected plan to reshape how police forces should be organized.

Wikipedia: “On May 25, 2020, Floyd was arrested on a charge of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store in the Powderhorn Parkneighborhood of Minneapolis. According to the store clerk, the bill was an obvious fake and Floyd had refused to return the purchased cigarettes when challenged.

“He died after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes during the arrest. Floyd was handcuffed face down in the street, while two other officers further restrained Floyd and a fourth prevented onlookers from intervening.] For the last three of those minutes Floyd was motionless and had no pulse, but officers made no attempt to revive him.[44]:6:46 Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck as arriving emergency medical technicians attempted to treat him.

Video by The New York Times Copyright 2020 published by permission

Bucolic is the word that comes to mind as I look on the following photograph (published by permission UPI/Newscom) from May

By comparison, fast moving time has presented us with this present:

recovery from the police murder of a black man; fires burning in Miami, Atlanta, Southern California, Minneapolis, Seattle….and in Washington DC in view of President Trump in his residence in the White House, the damage to Saint John’s Episcopal Church which caused me to weep out of control— weeping in this time death arrives daily and without notice.

I cannot fly to New York City because the Williamsport Regional,Airport does not currently provide commercial airline service anywhere. When I moved here to Williamsport, American Airlines provided service to Philadelphia. Period.

Presumably, out of Corona virus concern, American Airlines stopped its poorly run service from Williamsport. Now, American Airlines announced it filed for bankruptcy protection.

There is no passenger train service here.

River Valley Transit, Williamsport’s excellent wheel chair friendly federally funded service will not take me out of Lycoming County.

Screenshot by me of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health website

Meanwhile, almost everywhere in this, my country—the United States—the spirit of The French Revolution portends great change for the US. On over a dozen occasions,—a requirement for my work for President Jimmy Carter, for Congress and for the Securities and Exchange Commission ( placing one hand over my heart and raising the other) I swore an oath (under pain of perjury to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic.”

Never in my country’s history have the key policy makers in the Executive Branch making key policy decisions of who shall live and die from the Corona virus have consistently violated their oath. George Floyd’s murder has justifiably unleashed protests and an examination of how my country has failed to treat African Americans and other minorities of the protection they need to keep them from dying from the Corona virus. In Detroit, black deaths were found to be disproportionally higher than the white population.

Photo by Joel Solkoff

Last month, I had to travel to State College in Centre County, an hour and a half drive.

Let us return to my home county Lycoming County and whether being here will result in my death

Screenshot by me from the Commonwealth ofF Pennsylvania’s Department of Health website


Sarah Schmerler, e-architect’s Art Critic in York City, reports on renting a car in NYC’s Borough of Brooklyn.. Sarah has survived the pandemic that this year killed 17,433 residents of the largest US City

Freedom = mobililty = state of mind

Nothing fancy, nothing exciting — by most standards — but having a car for a day in Brooklyn allowed me to go shopping and get a lot of groceries. Stuff that’s too heavy to carry like seltzer and gallons of milk and oat milk.

Parking it on the street, I realized how small my world in this Big Apple has been. And also, how the act of renting it upped my contact with others — and my risk — exponentially. The friend who, while wearing a mask, drove me to the car place; the two attendants at the car place, one of whom was wearing a mask on his chin. The latter was most helpful. I turned on the ignition, and it seems had inadvertently squeezed a “panic button” on the key fob. All the lights went off, the garage was filled with honks, and I was so startled.

I didn’t have my mask on my face while I was in the car, alone, and suddenly this lovely young man was over my shoulder, concerned, helping me and showing me what I had done wrong. 

I know, because I remember seeing the kind smile on his face. “No worries,” he said of my panic and mistake, but yeah, worries, because this world is full of nice people who are in contact with other nice people like me. 

So I got in my new car, and, totally aware of how sudden movements are not a friend to me in this new normal, I kept to the local roads, and was conservative in my freedom.

Can we control this epidemic? There are indeed some sudden movements in my daily life: joggers who whiz by me before I can skirt them (no mask on, or only partial mask wearers); guys in the grocery aisle pushing huge carts with zero clearance on either side (and I have to move around them); and more and more people just standing on the street, not paying attention, now that we are in Phase 1. 

What is freedom, anyway? The ability to move around all the other people who need to feel free? Or the willingness to take risks? I feel I have neither right now.

Sarah Schmerler self-portrait screen shot by me

As NYC is emerging from its status as the epicenter of the pandemic, Schmerler reports on dangerously permissive social practices in Brooklyn, Schmerler writes:

This report should read a ‘A-LIVE,’ as it is good to be walking and talking and all those other things we can’t take for granted any more here in our fine City. As she photographs Brooklyn neighborhood trendy spot, she writes, “Less than 1/3 of the shop open to foot traffic. The rest, cordoned off with a table filled with various coffee sundries.”

“Then, just a few paces away, at the corner of Smith and Bergen Sts, there was a homeless woman, asleep on a stone bench.”

“Workmen were standing paces away, most of them not wearing face masks, or wearing them inadequately.“


Not dying is critical back in the Rust Belt of Pennsylvania

Photograph by Joel Solkoff of a salt shaker that can spread the deadly COVID-19 virus.


I had a COVID-19 test last week.

Results are negative.

Not that it matters.

My 32 year old physician Dr. Kayla Richardson has not not been tested

. Nor have any of her colleagues at River Valley Health and Dental. Nor have any of the physicians at UPM C’s main hospital in town.

My primary care physician Kayla Richardson, MD minutes after giving me a COVID-19 test

Fewer than 20 patients in the County have died, Most have died in nursing homes where health aides are not tested. Meanwhile, the Governor has lifted restrictions allowing barbers and masseuses to practice, Williamsport is a town of 28,000–largely low income black. 

In New York State by comparison physicians are tested daily. Nursing home workers twice weekly.

Here in Lycoming County, we will not have to wait for the second wave.

The deaths here are likely to be massive.

Consider the weakness of the health infrastructure: In January ( when I was treated for skin cancer ) the system did a poor job at best misplacing my pathology reports thus delaying for months timely treatment.

As a 72 year old paraplegic, the odds of my contracting COVID-19 and dying from it are high. This is especially the case because I have a COPD diagnosis and I do not have a spleen which protects the body from infection.


The President’s threat to use federal troops to control peaceful demonstration is a patent violation of federal law— specifically, the posse comitatus act.

Screenshot by Joel Solkoff

The President has brought widespread condemnation from the defense community, Trump’s own Secretary of Defense denounced Trump’s behavior. Only last week the President’s marched across the street from the White House accompanied by uniformed members of the military to stand in front of Saint Hohn’s Episcopal Church’. There the President paused briefly to take a photograph of him holding a Bible ( he does not read) in front of the Church sign.This action provoked a denunciation from Washington’s Episcopal  Bishop. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff later apologized to the public for having participated in Trump’s stunt which resulted in violence against peaceful demonstrators.

The demonstrations have been peaceful. Taking advantage have been looters, rioters, who have let in their path now the familiar graphetti: 

“Save a life. Kill a cop.”

This provoked me to write:

I taught my daughter Amelia, now a white police officer in the South to revere the memory of Martin Luther Kiing

My daughter Amelia Altalena is a police officer in the South who risks her like daily. Because she is my daughter, Amelia Altalena reveres the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.

Officer Amelia Altalena photograph by Joel Solkoff

Black lives matter. The life of a black man or woman matters as much as my life, my daughters’ lives and my granddaughters’ lives. The putz in the White House just signed last month a good piece of legislation that would provide federal funds for Holocaust education. Eli Wiesel, who coined the term Holocaust, asserted that the remembrance of Auschwitz not be confined to what happened to the Jews way back when. 

Holocaust education is meaningless if it is not applied directly to the domestic genocide President Trump and his sycophants are engaged in. Instead of inserting our black citizens into gas chambers, President Trump et alia are working to further reducing Medicaid coverage; I.e. health insurance for the poor during the pandemic. President Trump is responsible for over 100,000 deaths of our people—a disproportionally large proportion of black deaths. Proof positive that here in the land of the free and home of the brave if you are white and you have money in your pocket… 

George Floyd’s death, for which riots are understandable, represents only the tip of the iceberg. Last week, Martin Luther King III wrote, “ As my father explained during his lifetime, riot is the language of the unheard. “ 

What the rioters want is what we all need. Safety from harm. Food for survival. A roof over our head, Education for our children. Hope for the future; viz.: reason to live. 

The President’s excuse for a response for hundreds of years of legitimate grievances ( when during his Administration public housing is desperately short of 3.5 million wheel chair accessible units) is an appeal to guns and bullets and the creation of a dangerous fictional organization who work arm-in-arm with the non-existent rapists who sneak in from the South of the Border despoiling our virgin wives and their daughters.


My editors beckon: “All right, stop writing, Joel.”

Isabelle Lomholt and Adrian Welch, Editors at e-architect

“Good night and good luck,” as Greensboro, North Carolina born Edward R. Morrow, my hero, used to say.


Selfie, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania US

[email protected]

2019: East Third Street
Williamsport, PA, US

Please feel free to phone me at US 570-772-4909

Copyright © 2020 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved.

Avenue by Kathy Forer sculptor. From her Architecture collection. Copyright 2008 by Kathy Forer, published by permission.
Disability and Elderly Issues

God is not on President Trump’s Side; God is on my side

COVID-19 Updated Information


Essential viewingThursday May 28, 2020






Here in Lycoming County, I cannot get tested because I do not have symptoms [yet?] I am 72, have a compromised immune system and a COPD. If I want to get tested, the closest location is an hour and a half away each way. I do not have a car. 
In Williamsport, no busses outside the city limits. No public train services. The leading cab company in town has closed. The Williamsport Regional Airport used to be served publicly only by American Airlines, which used to do a terrible job, now no job, plus it is bankrupt.Coming soon, the death rate per capital where I live will make NYC seem like a clam bank by comparison.


Today’s US cases and deaths Plus Pennsylvania

May 25, 2020

Sensuous Françoise Hardy, Sixties icon, is now 76 years old

Françoise Madeleine Hardy (French: [fʁɑ̃swaz aʁdi]; born 17 January 1944) is a French singer-songwriter. She made her musical debut in the early 1960s on Disques Vogue and found immediate success with her song “Tous les garçons et les filles“. As a leading figure of the yé-yé movement, Hardy “found herself at the very forefront of the French music scene”, and became “France’s most exportable female singing star”, recording in various languages, appearing in movies, touring throughout Europe, and gaining plaudits from musicians such as Bob DylanMiles Davis and Mick Jagger.[1] With the aid of photographer Jean-Marie Périer, Hardy also began modeling, and soon became a popular fashion icon as well.[1]

BornFrançoise Madeleine Hardy
17 January 1944(age 76)
Spouse(s)Jacques Dutronc(m. 1981)
Partner(s)Jean-Marie Périer(1962–1967)

Musical career
GenresFrench popchanson
yé-yébaroque pop
Years active1962–present
LabelsDisques VogueSonopresseWarner Bros.EMIVirgin
Associated actsMichel BergerSerge GainsbourgJean-Claude VannierTuca

As the yé-yé era drew to a close in the late 1960s, Hardy sought to reinvent herself, casting off the fashionable girl next door image that Périer had created for her and abandoning the “cute” and catchy compositions that had characterized her repertoire up to that point.[1][2] She began working with more accomplished songwriters such as Serge Gainsbourg[3] and Patrick Modiano.[4] Her 1971 album La question represented an important turning point in her career, moving towards a more mature style; it remains her most acclaimed work and has generated a dedicated cult following over the years.[1][5] The early 1970s also marked the beginning of Hardy’s renowned involvement with astrology, becoming an expert and writer on the subject over the years.[1][5]

Hardy remains a popular figure in music and fashion,[6][7] and is considered an icon of French pop and of the 1960s.[8] The singer is also considered a gay icon and has “repeatedly declared that her most devoted friends and fans are gay.”[9] Several of her songs and albums have appeared in critics’ lists. —

“Also recommended is Françoise Hardy’s L’Amour Fou. Hardy will be 70 next year. At the age of 23, she released a song called ‘Ma Jeunesse Fout l’Camp’ (which translated roughly as ‘my youth is disappearing’) – I think she even has Morrissey trumped in the ‘old and world-weary before their time’ stakes. Some have accused her of never maturing as a writer or vocalist, but great later-period tracks like ‘La Verité des Choses’ put paid to that notion. Her voice has become deeper while its reedy quality has become more pronounced, and the songs resonate with the truth of more hard-won insights; it’s as though she’s caught up with herself. Perhaps it’s true that she doesn’t range too wide stylistically anymore – L’Amour Fou, apparently the ‘soundtrack’ to a book of the same name, is largely composed of the stately and ethereal ballads that are her stock in trade. But my crush is eternal; just the way she sings “alors, cours mon coeur imbécile” (“so run, my foolish heart”) on ‘Normandia’ sends my own heart into a foolish swan-dive.” —


Mandarin Chinese numbers 1 to 10

“Native speakers 920 million (2017)

“Mandarin is by far the largest of the seven or ten Chinese dialect groups, spoken by 70 percent of all Chinese speakers over a large geographical area, stretching from Yunnan in the southwest to Xinjiang in the northwest and Heilongjiang in the northeast. This is generally attributed to the greater ease of travel and communication.

Disability and Elderly Issues

FOOD: When leading means following the crowd

Disability and Elderly Issues

US Representative in Congress Val Demings, Democrat, Florida must be our next Vice President. Must be.

Demings: ‘I would be honored’ to serve as Biden’s vice president

Headline in today’s Hill, the unofficial publication for those who work in Congress Rep. Demings certainly does work in Congress

Wikipedia: Valdez Venita Demings (née Butler; born March 12, 1957) is an American politician and retired law enforcement officer who serves as the United States Representative from Florida’s 10th congressional district, serving since 2017. She served as Chief of the Orlando Police Department, the first woman to hold the position. She was the Democratic nominee in both 2012 and 2016 to represent Florida’s 10th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, the latter of which Demings won.[1] On January 15, 2020, Speaker Nancy Pelosi selected Demings to serve as an impeachment manager in the Senate trial of President Donald J. Trump. —

This is why we need her–need her now’!

Florida’s 10th congressional district
 is a congressional district in the U.S. state of Florida. It was reassigned in 2012, effective January 3, 2013, from the Gulf Coast to inland Central Florida. Before 2017, the district included parts of western Orange County, most of Lake County, as well as a northern section of Polk County. The current district is entirely within Orange County. It is situated along the I-4 corridor. Cities and towns that are encompassed by the 10th district include parts of OrlandoApopkaEatonvilleOcoeeWinter Garden and Windermere.[6][7] The district contains popular Orlando attractions like Walt Disney WorldUniversal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando.

Florida’s 10th congressional district
Florida’s 10th congressional district since January 3, 2017
Representative Val Demings
Area516[1] sq mi (1,340 km2)
Distribution98.67[2]% urban1.33% rural
Population (2016)791,447[3]
Median income$50,963[4]
Ethnicity39.34% white28.21% black5.33% Asian27.02% Hispanic0.1% Native American
Cook PVID+11[5]

It is currently represented by Democrat Val Demings. Due to redistricting after the 2010 census, this district was re-numbered, and slightly reconfigured from the former 8th District. Prior to 2017, it was considered a swing district, albeit slightly Republican-leaning. Due to mid-decade redistricting that occurred in 2016, the seat is considered solidly Democratic. —

Rep. Val Demings, age 62, Official US House of Representatives Portrait
Disability and Elderly Issues


While seeking updates on the Covid-19 virus, I discover Alizee by accident. By this accident:

Wikipedia: “Alizée Jacotey (born 21 August 1984), known professionally as Alizée, is a French singer, dancer and musician. She was born and raised in Ajaccio, Corsica.
She was discovered by Mylène Farmer, following her winning performance in the talent show Graines de Star[1] in 1999.”
Compare wonderfully weird this with wonderfully weird thatL

Wikipedia: “The video for the single is a rather simple video compared to the videos for the rest of her Gourmandises singles. Set against a pink backdrop, this time it features Alizée dressed in white and playing with bubbles. There is one scene in the video where she sings (with the band playing in the background). A lot of machinery (especially bubble machines) and slow camera movement were needed to put the video together. The video was directed by Pierre Stine and was first aired on December 6, 2000 during the show M6‘s Morning Live.”


:”v”L’Alizé” (English: “the trade wind“) is the second single by French singer Alizée. Released in December 2000, it featured the song “L’alizé” as well as an instrumental version of it. Later two limited editions followed, which featured four remixes. The song became a hit particularly in France where it reached number-one for two weeks (becoming both the last number one hit of the year 2000 and the first of 2001).”