— Though he kept a low profile, the late Barry Eugene White, that purring bass-baritone king of disco who died in Los Angeles last week at the age of 58 of complications from high blood pressure, lived for awhile with his girlfriend and various children in a bayside mansion right around the corner from Point Loma's San Diego Yacht Club. Adorned in black-satin suits and gold chains, the soul singer of such lines as "Take off that brassiere, my dear/ Don't wear no panties," ensconced himself in an elaborate Scott Street residence custom built in the 1980s by the late Robert Oscar Peterson, founder of the Jack in the Box hamburger chain and husband of onetime San Diego mayor Maureen O'Connor. Mega-millionaire Peterson had constructed the house as a bachelor's quarters during a brief marital tiff with O'Connor. White, the so-called Walrus of Love, started out as a poor boy in a Galveston, Texas, Baptist church choir before graduating to superstar status, making millions from a chain of '70s hits including "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Baby," "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe," and "You're the First, the Last, My Everything." Always the master of excess, White ultimately married twice and had at least one longtime mistress, Katherine Denton, who lived with him here and by whom he had a daughter Barriana, his eighth child. U.S.A. Today reported last November that White once commissioned San Diego's West Coast Aquarium Industries to build an acrylic dining room table so that dinner guests could look down and watch his exotic fish swimming inside. A reporter for London's Sunday Telegraph, granted rare access to the house by White back in 1999, wrote last week, "It was an intimidating place, in which everything, except myself, was decorated in black and gold. There were lilies draped with gold tinsel; there was a jet-black swimming pool flanking one side of the reception room; and -- through a door that had been left slightly ajar -- I saw a vast black-and-gold bed." She added, "White was an immensely courteous host. He plied me with sweet, Lebanese cakes (brought in on a gold plate by his son, Kevin); he invited me to touch his Steinway piano ('Feel it, sweetheart. It feels good'); and he frequently interrupted me to announce in a deep, syrupy baritone: 'I like your questions, baby.' "

Cheetahs redux That friendly female cheetah in the new Chargers TV spot, seemingly poking fun at the city council's strip-club travails, was lent to the team by the San Diego Zoo. The cat, born at the Columbus Zoo, is one of the zoo's "animal ambassadors" and travels with her own canine companion ... San Diego school-district officials are said to still be investigating that alleged kickback scheme involving a Macintosh computer dealer from Oregon and an unidentified district employee. A year ago this August, KGTV Channel 10 reported that police in Eugene, Oregon, raided Mac Exchange, carting out hard drives and other evidence in the probe. A police spokeswoman there told reporters that San Diego Unified School District police had obtained a warrant and requested the action. Warrants were also served on the company's Temecula office and the employee's home. That was about the last time anything regarding the investigation has been mentioned in public ... Ex-San Diego police chief Bob Burgreen -- who retired in 1993 only to become head of cops in Longview, Washington, three years later -- is in the running to be acting police chief of Tacoma, Washington. Burgreen is set to be interviewed tomorrow by the department, which is filling the seat of David Brame, who murdered his wife and then committed suicide in April.

Money time A fundraising letter over the signature of Republican D.A. Bonnie Dumanis on behalf of Democratic assemblywoman Christine Kehoe, running for state senate, is making the rounds. "Christine is an advocate for the things we care about most, reducing crime, advancing civil rights, protecting the environment, and improving our education system." Not mentioned: both women are leaders in the Lesbian caucuses of their respective parties... La Jolla's Murray Galinson, onetime aide to former vice president Walter Mondale, has some strong words about the current state of relations between San Diego Jews and Democrats, as reported last week by London's Financial Times. "The Jewish community is strongly Democrat and has been for years. But there are some who are saying, 'Look at what Bush is doing for Israel.' I have not seen many become ardent Bush supporters, but I have seen them saying they would support Bush for reelection...that he is a 'friend of the Jews.' " Alan Viterbi, son of Qualcomm co-founder Andrew Viterbi, also of La Jolla, added that raising money for his presidential pick, Connecticut senator Joseph Lieberman, has not been easy. Viterbi said many Jewish Democrats he's hit up for money ask him, "Is this really a good time to elect a Jewish president? We don't want to draw attention to the fact that we are full members of society." Bush, concluded Galinson, "has put a little water on the fire of the Democrats."

-- Matt Potter

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