Kelley’s next stand
Former Union-Tribune political cartoonist Steve Kelley, who departed the paper in the aftermath of a 2001 dispute over “butt cracks” he allegedly snuck into print, is back behind the inkwell, this time at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The move comes four months after the Pennsylvania paper dumped cartoonist Rob Rogers, whose anti-Trump works frequently clashed with the opinions held by Post-Gazette publisher and editor-in-chief John Robinson Block, the Washington Post has reported. “This is an internal, personnel matter we are working hard to resolve,” Block, a backer of the president, told the Post in July before Rogers was let go. “It has little to do with politics, ideology or Donald Trump. It has mostly to do with working together and the editing process.”
A week later Rogers was out, and George Washington University hosted a high-profile gallery exhibition of his canned cartoons lampooning the president. Similarly, Kelley, who in 2001 described himself to the American Journalism Review as “fairly right of center,” asserted his San Diego firing had something to do with politics, but the U-T’s then-editor Karin Winner called the notion “preposterous.”
The next year, the cartoonist turned up at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, where he hung on until the paper was downsized in 2012. Besides repeated tussles with U-T management, Kelley became known for a contentious love affair with Shelia Davis Lawrence, widow of multimillion-dollar Bill Clinton fundraiser and Hotel del Coronado owner Larry Lawrence, who died in 1996. Following the hotelier’s passing, Kelley and Shelia moved into Lawrence’s Crown Manor, featuring eight bedrooms and 17 bathrooms on Coronado’s beachfront Ocean Boulevard. The son they’d conceived together in 1999 became the center of a heated 2001 custody battle following the couple’s breakup.
In the run-up to the November elections, a group of San Diego restaurant and bar owners are using the GOP Lincoln Club and the Building Industry Association PAC to channel major money to their chosen political causes. On the first of October, the San Diego Restaurant and Beverage Political Action Committee, sponsored by the California Restaurant Association, came up with $45,000 for the builders’ group, which on October 19 passed $10,000 along to the campaign committee of Vivian Moreno, running against fellow Democrat and San Ysidro school board member Antonio Martinez to succeed her termed-out boss, San Diego city councilman David Alvarez. Also, on October 19, the restaurateurs came up with $25,000 for the Lincoln Club, currently waging a rough-and-tumble battle against Democrat Jen Campbell, who is challenging Republican incumbent Lorie Zapf. Recent heavy-hitting donors to the restaurant and bar owners fund include Urban Kitchen Group, run by Tracy Borkum, which has kicked in $6300. Borkum’s boyfriend of 12 years, noted restaurant architect Graham Downes, was slain by an employee in 2013. Shelter Island, Inc., owner of the Bali Hai, donated a total of $5600. San Diego Creative Media, whose newest establishments include The Grass Skirt and Good Time Poke, furnished $3000.
RSF on the barrelhead
The sprawling mansion of an ex-Rancho Santa Fe denizen who built a fortune on scandals, fiction, and non-fiction, goes on the block November 16. “Owned by Emmy-award winning producer and acclaimed author Wendy Walker, this rich Holcombe-designed estate is exquisite inside and out,” says a display ad for the property in the Union-Tribune. Other features include “a glass-ceilinged conservatory, a climate-controlled wine cellar, two-story library, billiards room, [and] full-size gym and dance studio.” The garden was designed by Kate Sessions. Creator of the one-season 2016 ABC series called Notorious, loosely based on her exploits as CNN talk-show maven Larry King’s producer and gatekeeper, Walker waged a nasty divorce war in 2004 with wealthy husband Ralph Victor Whitworth in which she asserted “Although making my job much more difficult to perform, I created a special environment for and established my office in our residence so that I would not have to physically leave our home to perform my work.”
Walker complained that Whitworth had once “gone into a tirade, hurling abusive language and insults at me,” and later returned from the couple’s vacation house in Sun Valley with their daughter’s hair “in such severe knots as a result of not having been washed and/or combed for the two days.” Whitworth, noted for staging elaborate private parties at North County venues, featuring Paul McCartney at Delicias restaurant for his wife’s 50th birthday in 2003 and the Rolling Stones at the Belly Up in 2015, died of cancer at age of 60 in September 2016. By then he was divorced from Walker and married to second wife Fernanda, a business student from São Paulo Brazil he’d met at a La Jolla social event.