Life and Times of Alex Esguerra

Under the Color of Law, the onset de jure segregation, from civil rights to Covid-19

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The Color of Law
     The Color of Law  one of my bestseller favorites book is back in the lime light since it was published in 2017. Written by bestselling author, Richard Rothstein this book One of Publishers Weekly's 10 Best Books of 2017
Longlisted for the National Book Award. This “powerful and disturbing history” exposes how American governments deliberately imposed racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide (New York Times Book Review).

In United States law, the term color of law denotes the "mere semblance of legal right", the "pretense or appearance of" right; hence, an action done under color of law adjusts the law to the circumstance, yet said apparently legal action contravenes the law. Wikipedia

Back when this book published Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation―that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation―the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments―that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day. 

2017 also saw some of the continuance of massive shootings and White Supremacist propaganda's everywhere. As to how this movement got more motivated is another topic for discussion. On the other side of this was the great wall or immigration's racial divide.

The last 3 months in hiatus of the Corona virus Covid-19 pandemic, what was common was the health disparities on getting the deadly virus with the African Americans, Latino's minorities who are low income, sufferers of immune compromised due to health issues, and no health insurance. In addition, most of the essential low paid jobs exposed daily to this virus which does not have cure as of today are done by these minority groups. Not to forget this Wuhan virus was initially called "Chinese Virus" which motivated the racial tension towards Chinese and Asian Americans. Wearing a mask when you cannot social distance to prevent contamination of the no cure virus is even mock.

George Floyd
A few days ago, out of all the chaos, 
in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a forty-six-year-old black man named George Floyd died in a way that highlighted the implications that calls such as the one Amy Cooper placed can have; George Floyd is who Christian Cooper might have been. (The police made no arrests and filed no summons in Central Park. Amy Cooper has apologized for her actions; she was also fired from her job.) Police responding to a call from a shopkeeper, about someone trying to pass a potentially counterfeit bill, arrested Floyd. Surveillance video shows a compliant man being led away in handcuffs. But cellphone video later shows a white police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for seven minutes, despite protests from onlookers that his life is in jeopardy.

In 2015, police responding to calls of a dispute between a man and a woman in north Minneapolis fatally shot a twenty-four-year-old African-American man named Jamar Clark. Police and paramedics on the scene claimed that Clark had resisted arrest and had attempted to grab an officer’s gun; bystanders claimed that he was handcuffed and on the ground when the shot was fired. Clark’s death was followed by more than two weeks of demonstrations outside the Fourth Police Precinct in Minneapolis, led by Black Lives Matter; an attempt to disrupt holiday shopping at the Mall of America, in protest; and cascading contempt from black residents that, two years later, factored into Mayor Betsy Hodges losing her reëlection bid. In light of that history, Frey has been unequivocal about police culpability in Floyd’s death. “Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” he said on Tuesday.

One of the reviews of this book, "“Rothstein’s work should make everyone, all across the political spectrum, reconsider what it is we allow those in power to do in the name of 'social harmony' and 'progress' with more skepticism…The Color of Law shows what happens when Americans lose their natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or in the case of African-Americans, when there are those still waiting to receive them in full.”
Carl Paulus, American Conservative"


These last few years in America reminds me of the past histories in third world developing countries with poverty, corruption, authoritarian rule and economic divide of the rich and poor. Can't imagine it's almost the 22nd century, that America the greatest, wealthiest most powerful country, has the most deaths in this virus now passing 100,000, there's no general testing policies, no vaccines, 40 million unemployed

We have not had time to grief for the loss souls in Covid-19 and now we have George Floyd. It truly hurts to think about these disparities.  The best most important thing to remember is in-spite of all these events we have to remain calm, we have to think about the future and get this democracy back.

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Writing Personal Histories on Covid-19 for future generations - Part 1

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Heroes of a Pandemic Heroes of a Pandemic is a good start on writing personal histories and experiences on this pandemic called Corona virus. I'll link this together with Differential Effects of Intervention Timing on COVID-19 Spread in the United States This study gives weight to one theory — and cautions against reopening the country without adequate ability to control new outbreaks. Researchers said 54,000 deaths could have been prevented in the U.S. had states implemented social-distancing guidelines earlier. And they warn tens of thousands more could perish as the country begins to reopen.

January 2020 news started to spread over the Corona virus in different context in the US. In San Francisco's bustling convention business for example, The Fancy Food Show, Intersolar-Photonics conferences that month had shown signs on the impact of conference attendees and exhibitors. Exhibition halls were drastically getting changed real time as show management had to fill and move exhibitors around. The issue that time was International Exhibitors like from China, Korea, Germany, the UK called off last minute that the shows had empty booths. 

Mid February 2020, San Francisco's big RSA Security conference took a toll when traditionally the long lines in Registration didn't turn out all these years. The Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed declares an Emergency for the City, the first one which raise eyebrows in all facets. Today, this step in history will be recorded as the first intervention which we could have turn the alarms as a nation. Kudos to San Francisco having suffered all the disparities of HIV and the 1918 pandemic notwithstanding economics to the most vulnerable that will eradicate a big part of the city's population if the tides were turned and it became the epi-center like New York.

Social distancing as the best intimidation for this virus then and now is a huge challenge to a bustling metropolitan cities like San Francisco and New York where everyone takes public transit, walks to work. San Francisco's huge housing problem and disparity having so many homeless and SRO's added to the low income minorities sharing an a one bedroom apartment with 4 people. So in March, San Francisco's mayor realized the nightmare at hand and again San Francisco became the first city to order a "Shelter in Place". This followed with 6 cities establishing a county effort and which immediately followed by Gavin Newsome, declaring the State of California to have a shelter in place order.  

These efforts where culminated with the Heroes on our public health sector, the epidemiologist, the scientist, immunologist science and data. As Governor Newsome of California mentioned the state is also blessed having some of the most advanced teaching hospitals and laboratories which is now heavily involved in the finding the cure and testing.

In March, a week and a half after the shelter in place order, with reservations I rode the bus. In pre-pandemic days the underground muni was the best method moving around the downtown area. The underground as a preventive measure after an operator turn positive for covid-19. Where I took the bus, there was an ambassador to ensure social distancing. Boarding was only through the rear side, I tried just to stand but concerned I might slip and fall standing and not trying to hold a rail, I took out a cleaning wipes for s chair and sat down. Half-way people had mask and where trying to distance. Another stop came the influx of vulnerable population, no mask standing and sitting. As we also know some of the city's vulnerable suffered on mental health challenges, so the way San Franciscan's deal with them is just let them have their own space. 

I went down on Market Street's Union Square shopping area with the plywood panels on Gap, Levis, etc., This Monday San Francisco finally allowed curbside pickup and delivery for retail stores. The Mayor says she is planning on Phase 2B in 2 weeks time.

Researchers expected to see a surge in new cases and deaths spiking in early to mid-June, even if social-distancing measures are put back into place. Even a one-week delay in reinstating social distancing could result in another 23,000 deaths by July 1. The Bay area and California did an aggressive step on the onset beginning with it's tech companies having their employees work from home even before there was a shelter in place program. This made a huge difference in mitigating as otherwise it would have been the epi=center.

The first days were crucial. “During the initial growth of a pandemic, infections increase exponentially. As a consequence, early intervention and fast response are critical,” the researchers wrote.A report in The New York Times, citing the analysis said that if the US had begun locking down cities and limiting social contact on March 1, two weeks earlier than when most people started staying indoors, about 83 per cent of the people who died so far from the virus could have been saved.

This is the part where historians are now looks like debating on writing history for the history books timeline and analysis. Presidential historians will have to make a fact finding aside from the TV clips on how the administration handed this pandemic since it's first reported case in the State of Washington. As preliminary reports come up it even narrates that the first case originated from the bay area. Density and contamination are culprits in exposure. The question now lies on what happens should be be a rise on cases and deaths again since the 50 states have now reopened. 

More to come in writing this personal history series on Covid-19. Stay safe. Social distance and wear a mask to save someone.




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Pandemic recession on an election year

Posted by noreply@blogger.com (Alex Esguerra) on


Strolling down Market St. in San Francisco at 10 am today on it's Phase 2 re-opening not really seeing a lot of changes. Aside from a Cafe with huge sign on the window they are open May 5, a dollar store, a few mini liquor convenience store, the plywood's are still on the windows from brown to black. Phase 2 allows retail for curbside pickup or delivery but one of the things unaccounted is that the city since a few months ago had banned private cars along Market and 10th /St. all the way through Union Square. It's a very common sense to understand that of course curbside and pick-up cannot happen in this regard. However, my guess is that really the consideration is that are these businesses along Market St. have the confidence to really open in the absence of a vaccine or maybe will it be even financial feasible to make money to pay for the cost of being open with limited operations.

Bank of America warned that the next three months will be "brutal" as the economy falls into a recession. It will be a very hard challenge to go to Phase 4 in this city due to it's density while at present their is a corralled tent area at the Civic center where some of the city's homeless are temporary clustered. 

San Francisco  is just an example of a bustling metropolitan city that has disparities on health, income, housing etc.., So regardless how we paint the picture that everything will be back to normal as before, the effects of this pandemic recession will take along time to recover. San Franciscans should expect that some city and state services and benefits will effect life more while living in this city.

The realities we see today as a common layman doesn't need any politicizing or sugar coating  as were the ones experiencing the consequences. Feelings of confidence may have been the critical issue for the last U.S. president who was denied a second term, George H.W. Bush. A recession in late 1990 and early 1991 had long been over by Election Day, a fact the Bush team kept trying to drive home. But the downturn was worse and more persistent in some critical swing states, and its hangover (including relatively high unemployment into the second quarter of 1992) haunted the Bush campaign all year.

The on-set of finding a vaccine platform in November in time for the presidential election is a far stretch assumption as without a cure and containment of this virus will not make this economy recover. The corona virus could hurt the president, then, by making health care a defining issue in the 2020 campaign. However, that would happen only if the virus is not contained come fall. So instead of flowery statements, the key should be focused on containment and cure at all cost.

Thus then, this plywood windows will literally go down and open all business crucial to curing economic deprivation.




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Curing a Viral Pandemic, the Impact on the Economy and Lessons from Past Pandemics

Posted by Alexander Esguerra on

I'll start the blog remembering the HIV/AID's epidemic as a graduating health professional then involved in the testing and seeing 2 of my former classmates then and after succumbing demise due to infection. This was a time pre-technology in my own terms that our team can get infected easily on the clinical side by either getting accidentally poke when we are drawing blood specimens from patients, or accidentally swallowing serum or plasma as we try to separate them for testing through pi petting and last when accidentally the auto-clave then for some reason explodes.
Today with the onset of the great viral pandemic, COVID-19, Coronavirus technology has been greatly changed the  laboratory settings and respiratory clinicians practices from way back. We can't accidentally swallow the hazard. But like any other health professional in the front lines, a future careful review of OSHA rules and the right adequate most talked about PPE (Personal Protective Equipment's) are eminent. Our front lines in hospital settings starts from the EMT's,  Admissions coordinators, Triage and Trauma staff, ER, Infectious disease to include bio-hazard teams, maintenance, janitorial, ICU/Acute Care, Nurses, doctors, food and canteen staff, the staff that we don't see much, Medical Assistants, Phlebotomist, Medical Technologist/Technician, Lab and Hospital Aides and our Clinical Laboratory Scientist,
I open the TV this morning alarmed to remember that one of the HIV patients stigma's then was the Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco, CA. Laguna Honda, the biggest nursing home in the USA also played and is playing a great service to the patients that have outlive the HIV epidemic. I'm alarm due to the fact the most vulnerable from COVID-19 are in this facility and the last I'd like to see is these patients who had so many years fighting HIV may succumb to this new viral disease if it spreads. As of today, the public health officials have started the best measures to protect the patients by locking down the facility and starting to test the more than 100 staff in the facility. This will at least start the identification and isolation's needed.
I'll continue by way of hovering on the concern on the national level on the economic impact this is causing the US and World economy. While reading through, Economic Effects of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic by Thomas Garrett, where he quotes on his abstract, "The possibility of a worldwide influenza pandemic in the near future is of growing concern for many countries around the globe".
As the medical professionals cited the 1918 pandemic came in 3 waves where they based the mortality rates. This is why we hear a lot in the news when officials and medical people talking on making assumptions as to density and apex which somehow touch bases on population, geography, ratio and percentage rank. Garrett continues, " The greatest disadvantage of studying the economic effects of the 1918 influenza is the lack of economic data. There are some academic studies that have looked at the economic effects of the pandemic using available data, and these studies are reviewed later. Given the general lack of economic data, however, a remaining source for information on (some) economic effects of the 1918 pandemic is print media". I mentioned this as this is the reality in "viral economics" Hence is why the economist zeroes on the point that the first step is deal with the virus on test and cure. 
In summary, let the scientist take the lead towards the date and assumptions. Let's focused on what we can do individually in terms of isolation, mitigation, being responsible from staying away from the vulnerable. We don't need to be in the front lines to be susceptible being exposed or being a carrier. The harsh effects will be great but were talking about lives and mortality.
I recommend reading this great article by Thomas Garrett. I will end on a paragraph on this article. 
"The influenza of 1918 was short-lived and “had a permanent influence not on the collectivist but on the atoms of human society – individuals.”31 Society as a whole recovered from the 1918 influenza quickly, but individuals who were affected by the influenza had their lives changed forever. Given our highly mobile and connected society, any future influenza pandemic is likely to be more severe in its reach, and perhaps in its virulence, than the 1918 influenza despite improvements in health care over the past 90 years. Perhaps lessons learned from the past can help".

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Nowadays, Fighting for Housing in America is a pandemic plaque in the modern technology era

Posted by noreply@blogger.com (Alex Esguerra) on

With the onset of the tech boom, today's lifestyle focus on apps, smart devices and lights, siri, social media practically on automation. An presidential election coming, absurd political parties bickering with candidates laying on platforms. Yet in the America, the richest and greatest country on earth thrives two of the worst problems typical in a 3rd world country - Homelessness and Access to Affordable Housing. 


In 1998, when the  tech boom started and the markets crash, one of the reasons I founded, ADLE International was focus on continuing my outreach for people with low income, the elderly, the disabled, the marginalized youth, veterans and societies most vulnerable to disparity, discrimination and inequality due to having limited financial means and resources. Two decades after I can't just tell myself I can't believe  the problem is still here and for all you know has gotten worst.

Part of the culprit lies on the severe income brackets of the so called rich, very rich and low income nowadays extreme poverty level. The State Medical and Medicaid systems for example classify lower income needing extra help if monthly personal cash reserves are below $2000 in San Francisco, CA when even an SRO (Standing Room Only aka Single Room Occupancy) in it's poor Tenderloin neighborhood range from $800 to $1300 and a typical Studio cost $1400 to $2,000 a month. It does not do the math as if you held $2001 anticipating just your rent, your no longer qualify for extra help and Medical/Medicaid might even cancel your enrollment.

The biggest challenge on top of this complication is if you just move to the city of San Francisco, there are no low income housing unless you want to go on to this massive wait list on the properties considered low income and affordable from 9 months to 5 years. If you have a parent on SSI (Social Security Income) that can no longer live alone and needs assisted living do the math = $900/month income and a typical shared assisted living which 95% only accepts private pay require $5000/month the cheapest shared room. Hence, is why part of the homeless population in the city are the vulnerable very elderly and even veterans who serve as there is no housing!

So when we were listing a book on our website today I said I have to write a blog even though it's been a while I haven't done one. Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America
Conor Dougherty (Author) I believe made a good case presentation on this book  as he writes. "A stunning, deeply reported investigation into the housing crisis

Spacious and affordable homes used to be the hallmark of American prosperity. Today, however, punishing rents and the increasingly prohibitive cost of ownership have turned housing into the foremost symbol of inequality and an economy gone wrong. Nowhere is this more visible than in the San Francisco Bay Area, where fleets of private buses ferry software engineers past the tarp-and-plywood shanties where the homeless make their homes. The adage that California is a glimpse of the nation's future has become a cautionary tale."

Indeed San Francisco has won the title of the most expensive city in the West and at times now have gone over New York becoming the most expensive city in the US. Oracle's OOW - Oracle Oracle Openworld Conference one of the biggest technology conferences in the last decade and a half this year finally left San Francisco to Las Vegas losing millions of tourist revenues for the city. Some of the conference attendee feedback received were of the so exuberant high cost of hotel rooms, the city has gotten dirty and a resounding majority stated homelessness. The cities Moscone Center perimeter for the yearly event has the various surrounding hotels in the union square shopping center as well the tenderloin neighborhood where the cities homeless are visible.

Dr. Sonja Trauss story in the book is the exact case scenarios by so many people living in the San Francisco Bay area. I really recommend spending some time reading this book so you can get a real store glimpse of why?





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