The Rotary Club of South Pasadena hosted Steve Whitmore of The Review newspaper at its Tuesday lunch meeting, where he spoke of personal and professional matters.
Whitmore’s keynote speech touched on several personal issues that dealt with his misguided teen-age years that evolved into a successful broadcast career.
Whitmore, 67, also called out Tom Lake in the audience of Tom Lake Builders because he is good friends with Steve’s brother Danny. The world is small for sure when a Rotary member in South Pasadena happens to be a good friend with the main speaker’s brother. They swapped stories and a hug regarding Steve’s younger brother Danny. In fact, Whitmore spoke of recently spending the day with brother Dan on his birthday. Just the two of them driving around in his work truck, spending time together, talking, sharing, being brothers. It was quite a day, Whitmore told the crowd gathered for the Rotary luncheon.
“It was wonderful,” Whitmore said as he teared up a bit. “Having a brother is so important and we got to be together for a day. Just the two of us. Family is everything.”
Whitmore spoke about his misguided youth where he ran afoul of the law. Nothing serious, he said, just stuff involving a little too much to drink. He also said that he was to spend a few nights in jail as a teen-ager for minor offenses. He spoke of these personal failures because he wanted people to know that redemption is always just around the corner. Because when he was 27, and he put drink aside, his life immediately turned around by graduating with honors from college. He started working as a free-lance journalist for the Glendale News-Press, making $1 a column inch. Five years later, he was to leave the News-Press as the managing editor and went to the Los Angeles Times as an editor.
And then later on in his career, ironies of all ironies, Whitmore became the senior spokesman/speechwriter and media advisor for former Sheriff Lee Baca, a man he still considers a friend and a mentor. He worked for Baca, the man who ran the very jails Whitmore was an inmate in, for 16 years. Whitmore retired, but he got restless and re-entered the world of print journalism.
“I am so grateful that God gave me something I love to do and would probably do it for nothing, but I get paid to do it,” Whitmore said. “I am so humbled to be part of such an honorable profession. There is a reason the founding fathers of our great nation protected the press in the First Amendment in the Constitution. They thought it that important to make it the first item in the formation of our country.”
Whitmore then turned his attention to the South Pasadena Review, which he predicted will have many new things to offer in the future.
“I love this paper and I love South Pasadena,” he said. “There is something special about South Pas. The city is like hidden from the rest of the world. It has maintained this special small-town feeling in a positive way. The people are so nice. The businesses are doing well, and the readership is committed. I think South Pasadena is a great city; a hidden gem and I hope to be a part of it for a very long time, if you’ll have me.” At which point, Whitmore finished his talk to thunderous applause.
Mitch Lehman contributed to this article.