I think you and I are discussing how to address different issues. You've focused on sharpening the image. Meanwhile I suspected that what made lise dissatisfied was the generally muddy or dirty appearance of various areas of her image, which I attributed to the very conspicuous artifacts from too much jpg compression.
I completely agree with your:
"you will be hard pressed to tell the difference between a jpg at 40% and one at 80%"
... however this is a 900x300 image, which means it's a 810k raw bitmap (assuming 24 bit color). So the current 30k jpg rendition is less than 4% of that, meaning over 96% compression. The very visible ripply artifacts around the stars, and above the dark hair in the left photo are characteristic. Indeed your sharpened version actually makes these clearer to see. Similar artifacts, though less individually conspicuous, are scruffing up the fills in the text and other areas.
Hence I suggested being less aggressive on the compression, moving to say 92% (a 60k image) or 88% (a 100k image). That will make a major difference, assuming one starts with the pre-jpg-ified original image (that lise says she likes), and not try to repair an image that had the life compressed out of it :-(.