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Joe Holley gets Pulitzer after leaving San Diego

Sea World lobbies against wild animal bill

Joe Holley, along with three coworkers at the Houston Chronicle, received the 2022 editorial writing Pulitzer for a series attacking voter suppression in Texas.
Joe Holley, along with three coworkers at the Houston Chronicle, received the 2022 editorial writing Pulitzer for a series attacking voter suppression in Texas.

Editorial sex talk

A Pulitzer Prize to the Union-Tribune recognizing the newspaper’s long string of exposes regarding ex-Sheriff Bill Gore’s jail deaths debacle wasn’t to be. But a controversial former editorial chief at The Evening Tribune — merged in 1992 with the morning San Diego Union to create the U-T — is sharing one of the coveted honors. Now at the Houston Chronicle, Joe Holley, along with three coworkers, received the 2022 editorial writing Pulitzer for a series attacking voter suppression in Texas.

No Pulitzer pride for Gore getters, alas.

“Mostly published in a series called ‘The Big Lie,’ their winning work examined and debunked GOP-driven falsehoods about voter fraud that have persisted for decades.” the Chronicle wrote on May 9. It’s been a long road from San Diego to Houston glory for Holley, who departed the Tribune for his home state of Texas in the wake of lurid sex harassment charges against him and Tribune editor Neil Morgan by reporter-turned-editorial-writer Lynne Carrier in a November 21, 1990, Superior Court complaint. “Joe did not manage that department very well,” said Morgan (who died in 2014 at age 89)in a subsequent deposition.

“There was a general level of dissent in that department, which to me reflected uneven management. From where I sat, all I knew is that things were not going very smoothly in that department.” A December 6, 1990, account of the allegations by Brae Canlen in the Reader quoted Carrier as saying, “When I complained, they started an in-house campaign to destroy my career.” The story reported that Carrier, the only woman on a staff of six editorial writers, “claims she was subjected to four years of a ‘locker room’ atmosphere of carnal comments and gestures,” including “jokes about anal intercourse, vibrators, and Catherine the Great,” along with “a reference to a female coworker as ‘a goddamn cunt,’” and “a conversation about her supervisor’s sexual fantasies, which included a desire to find a honeycomb-like dormitory of women, each one waiting for his sexual favors.”

Carrier “denies she is personally attacking Holley,” per Canlen’s account; however, “Her working environment, she says, included Holley’s unwelcomed discourses on his marital problems and sexual adventures.”

Helen Copley didn’t cop to any knowledge of funny business.

Helen Copley, then owner and publisher of both the Tribune and Union, was also deposed in the case. She said she knew nothing of the alleged malfeasance at her evening paper although she famously attended editorial board meetings at the Union. “They’re two different newspapers,” added Copley, who died in 2004. “And the editorial page of the San Diego Union is a Republican reflection, which I am. The Tribune is an independent... I hire an editor to run that particular newspaper.”

After leaving his job in San Diego, Holley settled in Austin, “writing magazine articles as well as political speeches,” according to a September 1997 Washington Post story. “He was on Ann Richards’s staff when she was governor of Texas.” But Holley’s 1997 hopes to become a $90,000-a-year speechwriter for then-first lady Hillary Clinton were dashed when word of Carrier’s lawsuit, which had been settled out of court according to the Post, surfaced in Washington and the White House bailed on the job offer.

“Holley’s friends, some well-connected in journalism and liberal politics,” per the story, “say the Clinton White House is setting a standard of guilt-by-accusation that the president — himself the subject of contested sexual harassment charges — could never clear.” Carrier told the Post: “The first lady’s office prudently reversed an appointment that in time it would have come to regret.” Unnamed White House officials added, “Holley hurt his cause by not mentioning the episode during interviews — including a nearly hour-long session with Hillary Clinton — until after a job offer was extended, and even then in a bland fashion that did not make clear the nature of the case.” Holley continued to deny Carrier’s allegations, as friends in Texas leapt to his defense. “My personal opinion is he got the shaft,” Greg Curtis, editor of the Texas Monthly magazine, told the Post.

Whale of a big spender

The latest big money donor to kick in for Lt. Governor bid of Democratic state Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego is AMR HoldCo of Greenwood Village, Colorado, which came up with $8100 on May 10. The big paramedic service provider lost its contract with the city of San Diego last year to its rival, Denmark-based Falck. Meanwhile, San Diego’s Sea World is spending major money on influence peddlers regarding Assembly Bill 2512, which according to its official description would mandate that California Fish and Wildlife “establish, maintain and modify, via emergency regulation, a list of wild animals that shall not be imported into, transported or possessed, because [Fish and Wildlife] has determined that doing so is necessary to protect the public health and safety, native wildlife or agricultural interests of the state.” During the first three months of this year, the aquatic amusement park spent $25,000 on Carter Wetch and Associates and $30,000 for the services of Montgomery Consulting, both of Sacramento, to handle the matter.

— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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Joe Holley, along with three coworkers at the Houston Chronicle, received the 2022 editorial writing Pulitzer for a series attacking voter suppression in Texas.
Joe Holley, along with three coworkers at the Houston Chronicle, received the 2022 editorial writing Pulitzer for a series attacking voter suppression in Texas.

Editorial sex talk

A Pulitzer Prize to the Union-Tribune recognizing the newspaper’s long string of exposes regarding ex-Sheriff Bill Gore’s jail deaths debacle wasn’t to be. But a controversial former editorial chief at The Evening Tribune — merged in 1992 with the morning San Diego Union to create the U-T — is sharing one of the coveted honors. Now at the Houston Chronicle, Joe Holley, along with three coworkers, received the 2022 editorial writing Pulitzer for a series attacking voter suppression in Texas.

No Pulitzer pride for Gore getters, alas.

“Mostly published in a series called ‘The Big Lie,’ their winning work examined and debunked GOP-driven falsehoods about voter fraud that have persisted for decades.” the Chronicle wrote on May 9. It’s been a long road from San Diego to Houston glory for Holley, who departed the Tribune for his home state of Texas in the wake of lurid sex harassment charges against him and Tribune editor Neil Morgan by reporter-turned-editorial-writer Lynne Carrier in a November 21, 1990, Superior Court complaint. “Joe did not manage that department very well,” said Morgan (who died in 2014 at age 89)in a subsequent deposition.

“There was a general level of dissent in that department, which to me reflected uneven management. From where I sat, all I knew is that things were not going very smoothly in that department.” A December 6, 1990, account of the allegations by Brae Canlen in the Reader quoted Carrier as saying, “When I complained, they started an in-house campaign to destroy my career.” The story reported that Carrier, the only woman on a staff of six editorial writers, “claims she was subjected to four years of a ‘locker room’ atmosphere of carnal comments and gestures,” including “jokes about anal intercourse, vibrators, and Catherine the Great,” along with “a reference to a female coworker as ‘a goddamn cunt,’” and “a conversation about her supervisor’s sexual fantasies, which included a desire to find a honeycomb-like dormitory of women, each one waiting for his sexual favors.”

Carrier “denies she is personally attacking Holley,” per Canlen’s account; however, “Her working environment, she says, included Holley’s unwelcomed discourses on his marital problems and sexual adventures.”

Helen Copley didn’t cop to any knowledge of funny business.

Helen Copley, then owner and publisher of both the Tribune and Union, was also deposed in the case. She said she knew nothing of the alleged malfeasance at her evening paper although she famously attended editorial board meetings at the Union. “They’re two different newspapers,” added Copley, who died in 2004. “And the editorial page of the San Diego Union is a Republican reflection, which I am. The Tribune is an independent... I hire an editor to run that particular newspaper.”

After leaving his job in San Diego, Holley settled in Austin, “writing magazine articles as well as political speeches,” according to a September 1997 Washington Post story. “He was on Ann Richards’s staff when she was governor of Texas.” But Holley’s 1997 hopes to become a $90,000-a-year speechwriter for then-first lady Hillary Clinton were dashed when word of Carrier’s lawsuit, which had been settled out of court according to the Post, surfaced in Washington and the White House bailed on the job offer.

“Holley’s friends, some well-connected in journalism and liberal politics,” per the story, “say the Clinton White House is setting a standard of guilt-by-accusation that the president — himself the subject of contested sexual harassment charges — could never clear.” Carrier told the Post: “The first lady’s office prudently reversed an appointment that in time it would have come to regret.” Unnamed White House officials added, “Holley hurt his cause by not mentioning the episode during interviews — including a nearly hour-long session with Hillary Clinton — until after a job offer was extended, and even then in a bland fashion that did not make clear the nature of the case.” Holley continued to deny Carrier’s allegations, as friends in Texas leapt to his defense. “My personal opinion is he got the shaft,” Greg Curtis, editor of the Texas Monthly magazine, told the Post.

Whale of a big spender

The latest big money donor to kick in for Lt. Governor bid of Democratic state Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego is AMR HoldCo of Greenwood Village, Colorado, which came up with $8100 on May 10. The big paramedic service provider lost its contract with the city of San Diego last year to its rival, Denmark-based Falck. Meanwhile, San Diego’s Sea World is spending major money on influence peddlers regarding Assembly Bill 2512, which according to its official description would mandate that California Fish and Wildlife “establish, maintain and modify, via emergency regulation, a list of wild animals that shall not be imported into, transported or possessed, because [Fish and Wildlife] has determined that doing so is necessary to protect the public health and safety, native wildlife or agricultural interests of the state.” During the first three months of this year, the aquatic amusement park spent $25,000 on Carter Wetch and Associates and $30,000 for the services of Montgomery Consulting, both of Sacramento, to handle the matter.

— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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Comments
2

Until the way we vote in this country is fixed (no pun intended) I don't know how any logically thinking voter can trust the outcome. Here we go again, just look at the Pennsylvania senate primary. Election day came and went and no winner, and thousands of mail ballots yet to be counted. Largely, because of a ballot printing error??? The system is broken and corrupt!

May 18, 2022

Even if a shared late-in-life Pulitzer is involved, some trips down memory lane are not worth taking, especially when they highlight/glorify/graphically describe pre-MeToo sexual harassment of a local woman writer by a jerk who skated off to Texas.

May 19, 2022

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