I fixed it!
I finally got motivated and fixed the problem. First I took off the passenger door panel to see where the lock mechanism was and how it worked. Then I carefully pried back the rear end of the leather trim insert in the area of the lock mechanism on the driver side door panel. Next I cut through the hard shell material behind the leather panel and left a lip around the edge to maintain the shape. Now I have access to the lock mechanism from inside. As it turned out there are two different cables that go to the latch. One of these cables had gotten kinked over and held the mechanism in limbo (unable to lock or unlock). I popped it lose and put some good ole wd-40 on everthing for good measure. Once the door was open I took off the door panel the rest of the way and contact cemented everything back in place. Works like a charm and there is no visible damage to the door panel, and best of all it cost nothing but glue!