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Mendocino County Today: Monday, August 4, 2014

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Board Of Supervisors Agenda Item 5(a) for the August 5 “Special Session” Board meeting:

Agenda Title: Acceptance of Certification of Initiative Signatures by the Mendocino County Registrar of Voters

Summary Of Request: A petition titled “A Community Bill of Rights Ordinance — Establishing A Community Bill of Rights For the People of Mendocino County Which Prohibits Fracking, and Which Provides for Enforcement of This Bill of Rights and Its Prohibitions” was filed with the Mendocino County Clerk Recorder’s Office on June 25, 2014. On July 24, 2014, the Registrar of Voters certified that the petition had sufficient verified signatures under Elections Code §9114. Pursuant to §9114, the Registrar of Voters is presenting her certification to the Board of Supervisors.

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LODGE LIGHTNING COMPLEX FIRE UPDATE (8 am, August 4): 2900 acres, 15% contained, 17 structures threatened.

CALFIRE REPORTS: "The fire is burning in heavy timber in the Elkhorn Ridge Wilderness and Eel River canyon areas. The steep, rugged terrain makes access difficult. Due to severe drought conditions and accessibility challenges, the fire continues to grow. Firefighters are in the process of removing dead, dry vegetation from around residences in the Horseshoe Bend area and will continue to pursue aggressive air and ground strategies."

EMERGENCY EVACUATION SITE: There will be a community meeting on Monday, August 4 at 3 p.m. at Harwood Hall to provide information about Harwood Hall being the designated emergency evacuation site for the Red Cross in case there is an evacuation order due to the Lodge Fire. If you have questions, please call our office [EPIC] at (707) 984-8089.

RESOURCES STRETCHED: Kym Kemp at the Lost Coast Outpost reports on the difficulties Humboldt County firefighters are having with multiple area fires:

“Danger,” warns the Fruitland Fire Department’s Facebook page, “Our county resources are at an all-time low… . NO AIRCRAFT available! We are drawn down to bare bones.” Humboldt’s fire resources are being sent to other places as blazes devour woodlands and threaten homes. Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown proclaimed a State of Emergency “due to the wildfires burning in Northern California.”

Fire departments across the county were cautioned today about the serious lack of fire fighting resources available in our area. Cal Fire Battalion Chief Marty Hobbs explained, “Humboldt is drawn down to critical levels. [In case of a fire,] additional resources coming to the county may not be available.”

More of this article, with maps, can be found here: Multiple Fires Strain Critical Resources in Humboldt County

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Board Of Supervisors Agenda Item 5(c) for the August 5 “Special Session” Board meeting:

Agenda Title: Approval of Temporary Extra Help Appointment of Catherine Livingston to Fulfill Critically Needed Duties After Her Retirement, Per GC 7522.56

Summary Of Request: In accordance with Government Code Section 7522.56, the Public Defender would like to hire Catherine Livingston as temporary extra help ($36.70 per hour flat) to fulfill critical duties for our coastal office. Government Code section 7522.56(f) allows the County to rehire a retired employee prior to the 180-day waiting period if that following conditions have been met: The employer certifies the nature of the employment and that the appointment has been approved by the governing body of the employer in a public meeting. The appointment may not be placed on a consent calendar. July 29, 2014

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Honorable Board of Supervisors, County of Mendocino

Re: Extra Help Description

Dear Board Members:

We have been under-staffed attorneys for the past 7 months. It is a long process to fill these positions if there is no current list available with the Human Resources Department. The attorney we hired for our coastal office recently gave two weeks notice, and the attorney we hired to replace him will not be starting until September l, 2014. We would ask that an exception be made to county policy and that we be allowed to hire extra help starting August 6, 2014, (even though this date is halfway through the first week of the beginning of the pay period). If this can’t be done we would have to start her at the beginning of the next pay period which is August 18, 2014. We would have to send one of our attorneys from Ukiah to Fort Bragg, which would significantly impact our already difficult situation here. Ms. Livingston was the attorney who worked in our coastal office before she retired, so she would not have to become familiar with how our office operates. Therefore, I request that your Board find that the appointment of Catherine Livingston as extra help is necessary to fulfill critically needed duties even though the 180 days has not passed since her retirement.

Sincerely, Linda A. Thompson, Public Defender

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FIBER CUT IN MENDOCINO (reseller of online services to MCN customers) is reporting an internet/phone service outage in Mendocino and Fort Bragg. Their August 3 reports:

Today, August 3, starting at 5:20pm, links serving Fusion/FlexLink customers in the Fort Bragg and Mendocino areas went down. We are currently investigating the issue and will update as soon as we have more information.

Update: A traffic accident in Mendocino caused a fiber cut that appears to be the root cause of this outage. Still no ETR, but we will update as more information becomes available.

Update: AT&T has found the cable cut and has dispatched to start repairs. They will attempt to pull slack in the cable in order to restore service tonight, however there is no ETR until the extent of the damage has been fully assessed.

August 4 updates:

Update: A splice team is on site with an ETR of 7:15am

Update [9:14 am]: AT&T has encountered trouble while restoring service with a new ETR of 10:45am

Update [3:17 pm]: AT&T splicers are still working in an effort to restore service, currently no ETR

Update [5:24 pm]: AT&T has discovered that the affected fiber cable was damaged in more than one place. They are currently working to repair the additional damage.

Additional comment by Terrence Vaughn (Aug 4):

4 spans of fiber damaged by an, assumably, overloaded logging truck. Sonic’s 911 trunks are down as are 611. Voip and internet is down also from Comcast. Verizon is on extended network. Extensive damage done to the fiber. Will need to be replaced, not repaired. May be more than a day. Repeat 911 down!! Alternate number works. 707-964-0200 to get dispatch. Please tell local radio stations to announce alternate telephone number. See if ATT can reroute your trunks over microwave. My partner is recovering in bed from spinal surgery and would like to have 911 access. Please let us know when it is restored.

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AVA, May 5, 2010: “WE ARE GRATIFIED to see Fifth District Supes candidate Dan Hamburg support a few things we've advocated for a long time. For example, at the recent candidates forum on the Coast Hamburg said, ‘I support cutting salaries 10% for every county employee earning $68,000 or more. Start with the supervisors and move up from there. That would save almost a million dollars.’ Hamburg also says he’s for giving local businesses a bigger discount in county procurement, upping the discount from 5% to 10%. He also said he’d like to see every contract with an out-of-county source come before the board with an explanation as to why the product or service can’t be obtained locally. The fact that Hamburg is touting these proposals, and getting no opposition or disagreement as he goes, shows that he’s at least paying attention to practical things the County can do in the short term, not just piling on the blather about how much he loves the place, his passion for Mendocino County, or his wishful thinking about what would be nice for other people — not the Board of Supervisors — to do.”

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Agenda Item 5(c) — Presentation, Discussion and Possible Action to Adopt a Revision to Mendocino County Policy No. 1 – Purchasing, Leasing and Contracting Policy Thereby Superseding the Previous Mendocino County Policy No. 1 Adopted by the Board of Supervisors on April 17, 2007

Previous Board/Board Committee Actions: The Board of Supervisors adopted a revised Mendocino County Policy No. 1 on April 17, 2007.

Summary Of Request: The County’s Purchasing, Leasing and Contracting Policy was last amended by the Board of Supervisors on April 17, 2007. In keeping with the County’s Leadership Philosophy, a Policy No. 1 Leadership Committee was formed and included representatives from each department with a charge to review and discuss the County’s Policy No. 1. The Policy No. 1 Leadership Committee has completed their review and has recommended changes to the County’s Policy No. 1 and is recommending the Board of Supervisors review and consider the proposed changes and adopt the revised County Policy No. 1. The County Executive Office, along with the General Services Agency, will present the proposed revised policy to the Board of Supervisors on behalf of the Committee.

Committee Findings: As a result of the meetings and review process, the Committee agreed on the following findings as it relates to Policy No. 1:; Eliminate all procedural elements from the Policy and add those to the procedure manual administered by GSA; Develop language as it pertains to Policy accountability; Eliminate the reference of the purchasing of food and drinks from Policy No. 1 as there is already a section dealing with this in Policy No. 18 (the County’s Travel and Meal Policy); Increase the Fixed Asset limit from $2,000 to $5,000. Departments would be responsible, however, for tracking all assets costing $2,000 and above; Increase the Purchase Order requirement from $2,000 to $5,000 (for some departments based on their purchasing history); Adding language pertaining to County Counsel and CEO required review and approval on all contracts; Increase bidding requirements for service contracts from $10,000 to $25,000 with a caveat that a department must bid a contract before beginning the fourth year of said contract that is between $10,000 and $25,000; GSA to provide a purchasing training for all departments on an annual basis; Require all County employees that have been delegated purchasing authorities to take the County’s ethics training.

[Notice that the word “local” does not appear in the above “findings.”]

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Board of Supervisors meeting, July 22, 2014:

Hamburg: I support the proposed policy and the work done by the committee. But I have a general question. We are a $225-$230 million agency. How much do you spend through this type of policy? How much goes through this type of scrutiny and decision-making? What are we talking about? Can you…?

GSA Director Kristin McMenomey: Every dollar!

Hamburg: About how many dollars is that? This sort of gets back to what supervisor Pinches was questioning.

McMenomey: The dollars that are in everybody's budget with the exception of salaries. Anything that somebody wants to buy.

Hamburg: Are we talking $100 million?

McMenomey: Probably. At least.

Hamburg: Do we make any attempt to break down how that money is spent? Getting back to the Chairman’s question about the spending for engineering studies for example. Do we know how much is spent in the county? How much is spent regionally?

McMenomey: Oh. Local versus non-local?

Hamburg: What's local?

McMenomey: Right.

Hamburg: Local can be Ukiah. I'm not talking about Ukiah. But. You know. How much is spent in the county? How much is spent on the Coast?

McMenomey: That's something I would have to work with the auditor on. I'm not sure how any of that works.

Hamburg: We don't have those kinds of numbers? It would just be interesting.

McMenomey: It would be.

Hamburg: I know that our County is a tremendous economic engine for, county government is a tremendous economic engine for the county as a whole, and the region. So I'm curious how much of this procurement… I think it would be interesting thing for the public to know.

McMenomey: The only actual money besides salary that does not go through this policy is what you budget for capital improvement projects. That is an entirely different arena. They don't allow for local vendor preference. Which is unfortunate.

Hamburg: Right. The only other comment I have is, I am a little… I wish we could do better than 5%. I remember this coming up when I was running in 2010. 95% is good. And I think we always want to get the best deal, the most bang for the taxpayer buck.

McMenomey: On the goods that we do go out for bid we are really only seeing the locals that are bidding on actual goods. Like vehicles and such. We are seeing the local vendors coming in any way. So they are really kind of competing against themselves. So it's really really good. We have not had a situation that has come up where a local vendor did not beat out another competitor outside of the local area, the area you are talking about, to make purchases on goods. Not on services, but on goods. Because that is something that my department does. The goods.

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Hamburg never asked for any procurement or purchasing statistics. Never visited the Auditor’s office or the GSA office to see any contracts or RFPs or bids or no-bids or other responses from potential bidders. Never asked if his colleagues thought that a 10% credit would help compared to a 5% credit. Never asked for a list of contracts that were not awarded to out-of-county providers or vendors. Never asked why service contracts are going to out of county sources, although, at least according to McMenomey, contracts for “goods” may have a higher proportion of local awards.

Upshot: Status quo, good or bad, right or wrong. Hamburg doesn’t care beyond vague rhetoric.

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All I remember is four years of

Pabst Blue Ribbon beer,

A novel or two, and the myth of

Dylan Thomas —

Americans lay be, the academic

chapel and parking lot.

O yes, and my laundry number, 597.


What does it say about me that

what I recall best

Is a laundry number —

that only reality endures?

— Charles Wright

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“Russian River project eases travel for fish” —

“A $12 million project along the Russian River near Forestville will allow migrating fish to travel more safely and efficiently past the seasonal Mirabel Dam, officials say.”

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Augut 3, 2014

Beck, Bond, Ceja, Campbell, Higgins
Beck, Bond, Ceja, Campbell, Higgins

JOHN BECK, Forestville. Public intoxication of drugs and alcohol, probation revoked.

JULIE BOND, Ukiah. Petty theft.

SILVIA CEJA, Ukiah. Petty theft.

ANNETTE CAMPBELL, Laytonville. Drunk in public.

TIA HIGGINS, Ukiah. Petty theft.

Malicay, Martinez, Pollick, Thrilkill, Weland
Malicay, Martinez, Pollick, Thrilkill, Weland

AUSTIN MALICAY, Ukiah. Domestic assault and battery with serious injury.

CHARLENE MARTINEZ, Possession of meth, battery against peace officer, resisting arrest, probation revocation.

ALAN POLLICK, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer)

DAVID SHERRY, Willits. Public intoxication of drugs and alcohol, refusing to leave property upon request by owner/agent. (Picture not available.)

RISHARA THRILKILL, Willits. Drunk in public.

CHRISTOPHER WELAND, Hopland. Acquiring access cards (e.g., debit/credit cards) without consent.

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by Emily Hobelmann

ROTR is hot, hot, hot! Hot people, hot music, hot weather. Shit, I heard it was 108 degrees on Friday. Still, people are out there working security, fire detail and hot food booths; performers are up on stage, performing, dancing — working hard for Jah money. And the concert attendees, hot damn!

Hot! I tell you.

So far, I’ve heard of three fire crises averted: a car fire, a fire in front of a porta potty and a fire in front of the KMUD Iced Coffee booth. And it’s no wonder — there’s a lot of smoking going on — ganga and cigs. Thankfully, the fire crews are on top of their game.

The sun is blazing, the air is hazy and the music is great. It’s a friendly atmosphere, lots of colorful outfits — ladies with midriffs for days, dudes sporting bandanas and sideways hats. ROTR is a scene, for sure, and the sweet, earthy, dank smell of the ganga is everywhere. People are obsessed with weed…

Last night, I met a few of the guys from Abya Yala, the 12-piece band from Santiago, Chile. It’s the band’s first appearance in North America, their first time in California, Humboldt County. These guys are blown away by how free the weed is in these parts.

I spoke with Nico, Mr. F and Kai right after they did their first dabs, ever. This is what Nico says about the Humboldt weed: “It’s like 10 times better. Organically grown and sun grown weed is the best in the world. Especially here. We’ve never tried weed as great as this. We love the flowers of Humboldt.”

These guys were telling me that in Chile, the weed is completely illegal, people can’t smoke it anywhere. They don’t use hash, people have no knowledge of hash making. No dabs?! They just smoke bud — “sinsemilla.”

Nico says the band loves to smoke weed after their shows as a reward for their performance. Kai says, “Marijuana saved our lives.” Someone take these fellows to a proper weed farm so they can see what’s up. “We need to learn from these growers,” Nico says. “And we need some seeds!”

More from Kai: “Greetings to all the people of California. You are being an example of happiness, organization, organic food for the whole world, so thank you and we hope to come again soon.”

“God bless you all. We are really grateful,” Nico adds. Hella nice guys.

Tonight at ROTR, my personal fave, Israel Vibration, performs at 6:35 p.m. Alpha Blondy & the Solar System is on at 8:30 p.m. See you out there.

Here’s what Skelly from Izzy Vibes says about the ganga: “It is absolutely clear that Ganga herb is the healing of the nation and it will be here for nuff generations.”

(ROTR pics at

PS. Did you see the NY Times editorial series on legalization yet? High time indeed.

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by New York Times Editorial Board

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.

There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use. But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization. That will put decisions on whether to allow recreational or medicinal production and use where it belongs — at the state level.

We considered whether it would be best for Washington to hold back while the states continued experimenting with legalizing medicinal uses of marijuana, reducing penalties, or even simply legalizing all use. Nearly three-quarters of the states have done one of these.

But that would leave their citizens vulnerable to the whims of whoever happens to be in the White House and chooses to enforce or not enforce the federal law.

The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast. There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to FBI figures, compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives. Even worse, the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.

There is honest debate among scientists about the health effects of marijuana, but we believe that the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco. Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. Claims that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs are as fanciful as the “Reefer Madness” images of murder, rape and suicide.

There are legitimate concerns about marijuana on the development of adolescent brains. For that reason, we advocate the prohibition of sales to people under 21.

Creating systems for regulating manufacture, sale and marketing will be complex. But those problems are solvable, and would have long been dealt with had we as a nation not clung to the decision to make marijuana production and use a federal crime.

In coming days, we will publish articles by members of the Editorial Board and supplementary material that will examine these questions. We invite readers to offer their ideas, and we will report back on their responses, pro and con.

We recognize that this Congress is as unlikely to take action on marijuana as it has been on other big issues. But it is long past time to repeal this version of Prohibition.

(Courtesy, the New York Times)

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Shane Miller
Shane Miller

The extensive search for an ex-convict suspected of killing his wife and two young daughters last year ended with the discovery of skeletal remains on a Northern California riverbank that officials confirmed Sunday as those of the fugitive. Dental records determined that the remains belonged to Shane Miller, who had been wanted for questioning since his wife, Sandy, 34, and the couple's daughters, Shelby, 8, and Shasta, 5, were shot to death in their home in the rural community of Shingletown on May 7, 2013, Shasta County sheriff's Detective Dave Eoff said. An anonymous tip Friday led authorities to the grisly find on the banks of the Mattole River in Petrolia, a community near the coast that's about 200 miles west of Shingletown, Eoff said. Investigators spent a week searching Petrolia last year after Miller's pickup truck and his dog were found near there after the slayings. It is in a remote, undeveloped area of redwoods and towering mountains referred to as the "Lost Coast." Officials suspected Miller, who previously was convicted of being a felon in possession of a gun, was heavily armed and knew the thick forests of the rugged region well since he grew up in the area. Searchers combed the land with dogs trained to search for cadavers, used foot and air patrols, and went door to door but found no traces of him. Investigators at the time had not determined a motive for the slayings but said deputies had gone to the home the month before the shooting on a domestic dispute call. All three victims were shot multiple times. The U.S. Marshal's Service had added Miller to its "15 Most Wanted" list two months after the slayings, offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

(Courtesy, the Associated Press)

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ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 01, 2014, at approximately 2300 hours, an anonymous party reported finding possible human remains on the river bank of the Mattole River in Petrolia, California. Members of the Petrolia Fire Department responded to the location as well as Deputies from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. It was confirmed the remains were in fact human. Detectives from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Department of Justice were called to process the scene and collect the human remains. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office contacted Detectives of the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office as the body’s location was within an area where Shane Miller had previously fled from law enforcement.

On Saturday, August 02, 2014 Detectives from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, and members of the Department of Justice processed the scene and collected the skeletal remains as well as other evidentiary items. The remains were transported to the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office.

On Sunday, August 03, 2014 the skeletal remains were positively identified through dental records as those of Shane Franklin Miller. The positive identification was made by Doctor William Farrell who is a forensic odontologist from Shasta County.

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all the citizens of both Humboldt and Shasta County, law enforcement agencies, volunteers and personnel, both sworn and non-sworn, who assisted in or had a part in this investigation. The press conference date, time and location will be determined at a later date due to Shasta County Sheriff’s Office personnel currently being assigned to several large fires within Shasta County.

(Humboldt County Sheriff’s Press Release)

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Queen Anne's Death & the Life of Zadok

by David Yearsley

You might think that nothing is more British than young Prince George, the toddler who recently turned one and whose birth has plagued tabloids and televisions with such smiley aplomb ever since. It’s not his fault, of course, that the royals have become entertainers and that their existence depends on tiresome modern forms of celebrity. The Brits are stupid proud of the tyke, even if dyspeptic responses to his exploitation do erupt now and again.

But history and royal blood are easily diluted. Hence most look right past the old irony that the Windsors are Germans: right down to his name, Prince George, is a Teutonic tot.

Three hundred years ago today the British Queen Anne died without heirs. It’s not as if she hadn’t tried to further her line: she’d been made pregnant 17 times by her consort, Prince George of Denmark. Anne was daughter of the deposed King James II; he was a Catholic but also possessed the foresight to have his daughters raised Protestant. The so-called Act of Settlement, passed by Parliament in 1701 to settle the problem of succession to the British throne, granted that right to the Protestant descendants of James I. This meant that, with the death of Queen Anne, the British crown would go to the rulers of the German Duchy of Hanover. Although Queen Anne had as many as 50 closer blood relatives than Georg, the Duke of Hanover, it was he, by virtue of his Protestantism, who would became British King on August 1, 1714. The new king would arrive in England in September of that year and be officially crowned in October in Westminster Abbey.

It’s no coincidence that the royal prospects of the House of Hanover were augmented by the arrival in London of the greatest “English” composer of all — also a Georg and also a German. Like his king, Handel added an e to his first name and then bolstered his Britishness still further by scrapping the frightening Umlaut on his surname. Thus he became George Frideric Handel when he took up residence in England in 1711. After conquering the musical world in Italy, Handel had been hired as Kapellmeister to Duke Georg in Germany, but sought his fame not on the continent but in London as the city’s first great champion of Italian opera. Duke Georg was apparently displeased by the truancy of his chief musician and therefore dismissed Handel in 1713 after his unbroken absence in London. But the legend that Handel composed the Water Music of 1717 to slip gracefully back into Duke Georg’s favor after he had inconveniently (for Handel) become King of England has not withstood scholarly scrutiny.

Instead, it seems much more likely that the cosmopolitan Handel was deployed diplomatically to help smooth the way for Hanoverian rule. There was no more politically useful venue for such a mission than Italian opera, an extravagant form of entertainment in which the ruling classes mingled, plotted, and seduced. Handel’s unmatched musical potency and his fluency with the protocols of power in public and private venues became stealth weapons in the German takeover—never mind that there was rioting in some twenty English cities on the day of Georg(e)’s coronation.

By the time of the ascension of the next Hanoverian Georg to the British throne as George II in 1727, Handel’s position as the preeminent musical force of the island was unassailable—a state of affairs resented by more than a few of his native competitors. In February of 1727 Handel had been made an English subject by Act of Parliament, a new national status that allowed him to be given the commission to compose the four anthems for the coronation of George II in October of that year. The most famous of these was performed at the anointing (directly followed by the crowning) of the new king—Zadok the Priest.

The undulating string arpeggios and pulsing oboes of this celebrating anthem’s introduction evoke the hands of God—and those of his clerical agents on earth—approaching the earthly monarch with the oily blessing as if from heavenly heights. The gradual, unstoppable crescendo that ushers in the choral entry has the inexorable force of universal truth. The effects are bold, monumental, and — in a word favored by Handel’s eighteenth-century devotees — sublime. Anyone who thinks that the opening is a lullaby meant to lull the listener to sleep, will suffer — or enjoy — the shock of the choral cannonade. One can imagine Handel directing a performance of the piece, lowering his hands to usher in the deafening barrage of voices and trumpet like a field commander dropping his sword. And like a successful military strategist, Handel knew the terrain of his campaign: for the vast architectural and acoustic spaces of Westminster he mobilized simple, overwhelming forces.

Handel’s fame would surpass that of his monarchic patrons, not least because devotion to his music ran in the Hanoverian blood. Mad King George III was crazy about Handel’s music right through the eighteenth century and into the nineteenth. George III insisted on a massive festival to celebrate the centenary of Handel’s birth; this took place in 1784 (they got the year wrong; Handel was born in 1685) in Westminster Abbey and the Pantheon. The proceedings started with Zadok—the ultimate reflection of royal favor and foresight: without the Hanoverians, Handel’s music would not have achieved such ritualistic importance; and without Handel their royal power would not have shone—and resounded—so brilliantly, nor been so secure. The memorial festivities had been planned to end with the fourth concert, a program dedicated to the Handel hits most loved by George III: naturally, this playlist culminated with Zadok, which had been played at the king’s of coronation, too, just as it would for every British monarch afterward, including that of Elizabeth II. Zadok would therefore have framed the entire event if large crowds had not been turned away from the third day’s performance of Messiah and the oratorio repeated at an added fifth concert ordered by the King.

As the cult of Handel grew with the expansion of the British Empire and its engineering and industrial might, so did the size of the choruses. The original 1727 performance probably had as many as 40 singers; by the time of the centennial celebrations, the chorus had grown to 70, the orchestra to more than 400. Two hundred years after Handel’s birth choruses for Zadok could number in the thousands. One of the first Edison wax-cylinder made in England captures, if in faint and ghostly manner, a choir of 4,000 singing a chorus from Handel’s Israel in Egypt in 1888 at London’s Crystal Palace, the performance conducted by Sir August Manns, yet another celebrated German musical immigrant to England.

Given the oddly multi-cultural nature of the English monarchs with their German roots it is perhaps fitting that Zadok has thrived in an increasingly diverse Britain. For the twentieth anniversary of the British radio station Classical FM promoters organized a flash mob performance of Zadok in a London Supermarket in 2012. As the music gathered steam universal expressions of delight danced across the faces of the shoppers of a New Britain, young and old hailing from various corners of a once far-flung Empire. You don’t need German blood to be wowed by the Handelian sublime even in the supermarket vegetable section.

The inveterate showman Handel would have certainly been pleased with the stunt not only because the proof it offered that his music could attain sublime resonance even under fluorescent lights and low ceilings, but also because this insatiable eater would had the chance to fill his shopping cart with frozen pizzas and other binge-goodies and maybe reach for a foot-long salami—as in the famous cartoon by his one-time friend Joseph Goupy—to conduct the choir and orchestra that emerged stealthily from amongst the other shoppers.

The conservative musical tastes of the culture and media advisors of Prince George’s parents were heard in abundance at their 2011 wedding in Westminster Abbey. Given this aesthetic orientation, the eventual coronations of any or all of the three generations of Windsor men now waiting for Elizabeth II to kick the gilded bucket will doubtless have Handel’s Zadok the Priest as their musical centerpiece. I wouldn’t be surprised if the anthem has already been used for that game of musical thrones at Prince George’s first birthday bash. Zadok will still be waiting for him some decades from now in Westminster Abbey, the anthem having become even bigger, more obvious, and more necessary in the three hundred years since its conception. In spite of the current cooing over him, the future king will need that kind of musical artillery cover to keep the forces of skepticism at bay.

(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His latest book is Bach’s Feet. He can be reached at

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Dear Bruce,

In her July 30 article on a KZYX&Z board meeting in Willits (“The KZYX Backward Shuffle”), Sheila Dawn-Tracy incorrectly states that I “rose from (my) chair and shouted for (John Sakowicz) to stop speaking…”

I did not shout nor did I rise from my chair, as Sheila would have known if she had been present when this behavior is alleged to have occurred. She admits in her next paragraph that she did not actually witness the scene.

Yes, I did interrupt Mr. Sakowicz, imploring him not to continue discussing a confidential personnel matter that I felt was completely inappropriate at a public board meeting.

Ms. Dawn-Tracy is at her best when she sticks to the facts. Inflaming the readership with incorrect reporting discredits your newspaper, divides the community and hurts a radio station that I believe is one of Mendocino County's most precious resources.

Sincerely, Jane Futcher, Willits

KZYX&Z Board Member

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Dear family, friends and colleagues,

I am helping to raise $1,000 for KPFA community radio on Women's Magazine this Monday for its fund drive and am writing you to please help support the show, Monday August 4th at 1pm PST when we offer feminist premiums that are a lot more radical than usual fare: The "SCUM Manifesto" by Valerie Solanas and an excellent new biography book about her called "Valerie Solanas: The Defiant Life of the Woman who Wrote SCUM and Shot Andy Warhol." We will air an interview I did with the author, Breanne Fahs about her new book.

Valerie Solanas has been dismissed as too radical but has, unwittingly, become a figurehead for women’s unexpressed rage. She inhabited Andy Warhol’s Factory scene, circulated among feminists and the countercultural underground, charged men money for conversation, despised “daddy’s girls,” and outlined a vision for radical gender dystopia. Known for shooting Andy Warhol in 1968 and for writing the polemical diatribe SCUM Manifesto, Solanas is one of the most famous women of her era. SCUM Manifesto—which predicted ATMs, test-tube babies, the internet, and artificial insemination long before they existed — has sold more copies, and has been translated into more languages, than nearly all other feminist texts of its time.

Please listen and pledge any amount or get copies of these books each one is $50 or you can pledge your support of $80 and receive both books and support feminism on KPFA. Listen at 94.1 FM or listen or pledge online at or call 1-800-439-5732.

I know some of you are out of the listening range from the greater San Francisco Bay Area, and I know some of you also listen online to the intellectual progressive treasure of KPFA, that we value so much, so your support is wanted and deeply appreciated.

With love, Christina Aanestad, Berkeley

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