Domestic disharmony

— San Diego Symphony president and CEO Douglas Gerhart, whose take-no-prisoners style is credited by many with pulling the once-bankrupt organization from the jaws of financial oblivion, is in hot water with his wife of 17 years. In a divorce action filed in February, Stacey Gerhart declares, "I do not believe that it would be in the best interests of our children for Doug and me to continue to reside together in the family residence during the pendency of this matter. Doug has an anger-management problem and can often be intimidating and verbally abusive. Although Doug has never been physically abusive to me or to our daughters, if he is angry, he sometimes misdirects his anger and is physically abusive to our daughter's dog. This causes a great deal of tension in the family home and causes both me and our children to be fearful of Doug's angry outbursts." She blames much of the problem on her husband's rigorous work schedule.

"Although I believe Doug loves our daughters, unfortunately he has not been very involved with them. All of Doug's energy is put into his work. He has a very difficult time separating from his work stress, engaging the children in their interests, and being involved in their lives. Because of Doug's position with the symphony, he is required to work on many nights and weekends, working most Friday nights, Saturday nights, and sometimes Sunday afternoons."

Mrs. Gerhart also asks for a restraining order, keeping her husband from withdrawing money from two investment funds. "These accounts contain substantial funds, and I am concerned that without benefit of the restraining orders, Doug may attempt to withdraw or transfer monies from these accounts." According to his wife's filing, "Doug's current earnings consist of a salary of approximately $208,000 annually, bonuses, membership in the University Club, athletic club membership, and a vehicle which is provided for all of his use, business and personal." On the other hand, Stacey says, "The most that I have ever earned during our marriage is approximately $36,000 per year. I was unable to maintain any type of career plan during our marriage because Doug's career, as an executive director of symphonies, has required our family to relocate often throughout our marriage." In 2002, Gerhart's efforts resulted in a $125 million donation to the symphony from Qualcomm multimillionaire Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan, but symphony boardmembers, who expressed surprise and shock at news of the divorce filing, say the organization still faces substantial marketing and financial hurdles. "Indian casinos are taking all of our best summer pops acts," notes one. Gerhart didn't respond to requests for comment.

Space cadets La Jolla's Sally Ride, first American woman in space and one of five "outside" members of the panel investigating the Columbia shuttle disaster, is being quietly paid $134,000 by NASA, reports the Houston Chronicle. The move makes Ride and the four other "civilian" panelists federal employees, thereby allowing the group to hold secret meetings and restrict public access to documents. "Three words -- conflict of interest," Steven Aftergood, head of the Federation of American Scientists, told the paper ... The services of Gloria Penner, talk-show and pledge- night hostess on SDSU-run public television station KPBS, are being auctioned as part of an online fundraiser. For a $75 minimum bid, according to the station's website, the fortunate buyer will receive "Gloria Penner's Voice on Your Answering Machine." A $150 minimum bid nets "You and Tom Fudge Play[ing] Tennis." High-rollers who are non-TV fans might want to consider naming rights offered by the La Jolla Playhouse: "For a contribution of $100,000 you will be recognized in either the wardrobe room or the wig room."

San Diego skin Sixty-three-year-old University City porn star Dave Cummings, who appears regularly on cable TV's Playboy Channel, also happens to be a retired Army lieutenant colonel who loudly backed the war in Iraq. "The feedback showed me that Americans care about oppression, terrorism, and threats to our freedoms," he says in a recent newsletter. The latest threat to Americans, warns Cummings -- who in his line of work gets more than his share of all-over UV radiation -- is malignant melanoma and related ills. "This week, I had to undergo surgery for one on my nose/cheek, this one requiring over 20 stitches," he writes. "ALWAYS be conscientious about using sun block, and getting routinely checked for skin cancer." ... USA Today reports that De Anza Springs Resort, a nudist colony near Jacumba, is planning to run an all-nude dinner-train excursion this fall ... San Diego's own garage band Convoy has been tapped for a national TV campaign for Sheraton Hotels, featuring a remake of "Let's Spend the Night Together."

Contributor: Matt Potter

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