Biden Presidency Architecture, US Building News, Social Housing Shortage, American Election

Architecture under the Biden Presidency

Historic US Election Review of Architectural Aspects: Architectural Column by Joel Solkoff, PA, USA

Dec 9, 2020
Architecture under President Biden

Nov 12, 2020

US Architecture under the Biden Presidency

steeple of Independence Hall - Architecture under Biden Presidency

The steeple of Independence Hall was the masterpiece of 18th Century architect William Strickland. Photograph in the public domain by Captain Albert E. Theberge, NOAA Corps (ret.).National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Independence Hall is the birthplace of the Constitution of the United States–ratified in 1788; in operation since 1789. If nothing else, the big victor in the US elections of 2020 is the Constitution of the United States.

Despite fears of violence and foreign interference, over 100 million US Americans cast their votes safely and without significant problems in the midst of our worst health crisis in over 100 years.

Joe Biden clearly won the Presidential election by over 4.4 million popular votes. Biden also won the electoral college vote—that aristocratic relic difficult to explain; likely to be reformed—. by a comfortable margin. It is with the considerable emotion that I recollect and write with pride that twelve times I have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States and “defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic.”

This is the complete text of the Constitution from the U.S, Senate website, I will be writing and talking about Independence Hall and the Constitution a lot–perhaps, not all today.

To contain Covid, architects must build cities

The first rule of writing is know your audience. You, my readers, are architects and members of the AEC community. If taming the deadly virus is to be achieved, the AEC community must build cities on an order of magnitude far greater than in the 1950s when Levitowns dotted the US countryside.

In the wake of World War II, soldiers returned to have children as the massive Baby Boom generation (my generation) converted the US from a nation of urban dwellers to one of suburbanites.

Aerial view of Levittown, Pennsylvania suburban housing USA - Architecture under the Biden Presidency

Aerial view of Levittown, Pennsylvania circa 1959 (when I was eight years old). Wikipedia: ”

Levittown is the name of seven large suburban housing developments created in the United States by William J. Levitt and his company Levitt & Sons.

Built after World War II for returning veterans and their new families, the communities offered attractive alternatives to cramped central city locations and apartments. The Veterans Administration and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) guaranteed builders that qualified veterans could buy housing for a fraction of rental costs.”

Right now, architecture commissions in the private sector are drying up. Massive public spending will begin shortly as housing our most vulnerable children, women, and men is required to prevent death and contagion. Urgently, architects must learn a skill rarely taught in architecture school: Politics. Architects must become, as the expression goes, “political animals,” a subject on which my future columns will descend on you with passion and this is what you must do next information.

Before the pandemic, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had a waiting list of 3.5 million low income individuals who are in danger of contracting coronavirus because of the unsafe housing where they live.

Breadcrumbs demonstrating what we can expect from Biden when adults return to govern

“Infection Control Deficiencies Were Widespread and Persistent in Nursing Homes Prior to COVID-19 Pandemic” is a report from Congress’ General Accountability Office (GAO) on the failure of US nursing homes, where most coronavirus deaths are taking place, to protect its residents–people like me who are elderly and have considerable health issues.

One of the number of places in the US government (where I worked in Washington DC for nearly 20 years) is the General Accountability Office (GAO). Here is a report the GAO released on May 20th of this year: “GAO analysis of CMS data (content management system data from Medicare and Medicaid) shows that infection prevention and control deficiencies were the most common type of deficiency cited in surveyed nursing homes, with most nursing homes having an infection prevention and control deficiency cited in one or more years from 2013 through 2017 (13,299 nursing homes, or 82 percent of all surveyed homes).

Hail to the Chief

Even before the election results where confirmed by the widely-respected Associate Press, a serious-minded President-to-be Biden had already begun the process of preparing to fix the problems of nursing homes, inadequate housing, and Covid virus specifically. Within his first week as President elect, Biden had already appointed a panel of distinguished and credentialed scientists to make suggestions regarding the pandemic. “Covid, covid, covid, covid,” President Trump repeated sing song like in his re-election rallies which because of the absence of social distancing and laissez-faire mask use have been spreader events.

All Architects Today Must Be Covid-19 Architects

Joel Solkoff’s Column Vol. VI, Number 4

President Ronald Reagan Inauguration USA Capitol - Architecture under the Biden Presidency

West front of the Capitol of the United States where Joseph Biden will take the oath of office to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic” on January 20,2021 at noon. Photo in the public domain.
The annual budget of the U/S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is $44.1. billion.

Secretary of HUD Ben Carson tested positive for Covid-19 after results of the Presidential election were announced by the authoritative Associate Press. One reporter suggested Secretary Carson may have contracted the disease at a Michigan rally for President Trump where Secretary Carson did not consistently where a mask.

Yesterday, the US death toll from the coronavirus was 242,000 children, women, and men.

DATELINE Thursday, November 12, 2020. Williamsport Pennsylvania, a town of 28,000 people (a treasure trove of architecture) 178 miles southeast over rotten roads to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall where my fathers (mothers did not apply) ratified the Constitution of the United States.

The biggest of the big news from this month’s election is that President Donald John Trump will no longer be President of the United States even if it means the Marines have to drag him out of the White House kicking and screaming. An ongoing question is whether the United States will ever recover from the Trump Presidency. On this issue, I take the long view. Maybe. It is the forthcoming Presidency of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. on January 20, 2021 that gives me some hope. Biden has run an excellent campaign. His choice of Kamala Harris, Senator from California, former attorney general of the state of California was sheer genius–a word I seldom use.

Senator Harris was my first choice for President during the crowded Democratic nomination process. Senator Harris mopped the floor with candidate Biden during one debate:

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When I heard that Biden had selected Harris, this bumper sticker came to mind. “It takes brass balls to play rugby.” This is a time for US and global architects to understand that politics is about power. In your case, it is about exerting your power to design housing for the most vulnerable to Covid 19. Here is Kamala Harris questioning Bill Bahr who in 69 days will no longer be the Attorney General of the United States:

Film on YouTube

The press’ failure in covering the election results

Counting inches forward in Pennsylvania, and both sides predict victory.” asserted the New York Times inaccurately on November 4th.

Before Hillary, Pennsylvania consistently cast its electoral votes for Democratic Presidential candidates even ones who lost the election. If it were for Pennsylvania, John Kerry would have been President of the United States. Pennsylvania has voted for Democratic candidates consistently because there are a lot of voters in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia at each end of the state and few voters in the center, in the burned out Rust Belt where the existence of a Donald Trump was the inevitable result of the failure of Democratic and Republican Presidential Administrations from preserving and protecting this rich beautiful land between the two oceans.

My condemnation is considerable of the New York Times, the US’s newspaper of record, for dangerously pretending that the king-making electoral vote in Pennsylvania was a close vote. The only reason former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election, was because she ran an incompetent campaign. That is putting it mildly.

Pennsylvania election day votes USA

Following election day when I voted for Joe Biden in a Trump county in Pennsylvania e-architect Art Critic Sarah Schmerler drew the following rough approximation of reality. The New York Times, leading the world, kept us all on the edge of ours seats unnecessarily. New York Times reporters were incapable of telling the difference between big and little.
If you have a large number of votes in one place and few votes in another place and if all votes are equal, then you do not have a close race.

voting Pennsylvania election day 2020 USA

Joel votes. Photo reproduced with his permission by my health aide Frank Rasole, Jr.
As you can see, the parking lot was not crowded. There were no lines. Few voters. A mile away at the Williamsport Regional Airport on Friday evening, Air Force 1 arrived and Trump conducted a large super-spreader event where his fervent followers promised the President they would vote for him. My polling place: Loyalsock Twp Building, 2501 East Third Street Wi lliamsport PA17701.

I have not yet had the chance to examine the vote count there/here four years ago, but I would be surprised if in 2016 the Loyalsack polling place had fewer voters than poll workers as I experienced. Meanwhile, while the entire process of my voting took fewer than 15 minutes, in Philadelphia potential Biden voters were spending hours in line. I do not understand why the alarmist press was unable to see that Biden would obtain my Commonwealths’ 20 electoral votes handily.


Off to New York City to save my life

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I have been hopeful of moving to the Peter Herdic Park Hotel completed 1865. Williamsport’s best architect, Anthony Visco, Jr took my amanuensis Frankie Resole, Jr. and me on tour of the hotel which was an alluring rural attraction.

Sadly, while I am hoping to maintain a legal residence here in the Appalachian Mountains, now is the time to head Noah’s call and move to New York City. As an elderly man with significant health conditions, Remaining in Lycoming Country–with its failure to test physicians and nurses in the emergency room of its largest hospital, its failure to test at all my primary care physician, and its failure to socially distance or wear masks consistently–may very well be a sentence of death.

The most dangerous spot on the planet from this deadly disease is South Dakota–beautiful South Dakota. Lycoming Country, Pa has all the characteristics of South Dakota’s danger. Within the next two weeks, the infection that has closed down London and Paris will be coming to the US with a wallop. Now is the time to get out.

New York City, once the epicenter of the pandemic, is now the safest place to be in the US.

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

Isabelle Lomholt and Adrian Welch, Editors at e-architect

Isabelle Lomholt and Adrian Welch e-architect editors

“Good night and good luck,” as Greensboro, North Carolina born Edward R. Morrow, my hero, used to say. My hero Edward R.Murrow broadcast this 1960 example of classic investigative reporting. This documentary was broadcast on Thanksgiving Day where I watched it at my maternal grandmother’s apartment in Brooklyn. I was 12 years old at the time.

Murrow’s documentary shaped my future career in measurable ways. Note the hideous conditions of farm worker housing. Little effort would find inadequate housing, in Florida or Canada for migrant workers, in danger of spreading the Coronavirus. Think Black Lives Matter when you hear the words of a grower Murrow quoted: “We used to own our slaves. Now we just rent them.”

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Joel Solkhoff, PA, USA:
Joel Solkhoff, PA, USA
Selfie, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA

jsolkoff(at) 2019: East Third Street Williamsport, PA, US 17701
Please feel free to phone me at US 570-772-4909

Copyright © 2020 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved.

Architecture under Biden Presidency US election door
Door by Kathy Forer sculptor. From her Architecture collection. Copyright 2020 by Kathy Forer, published by permission

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