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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Reality shows once again why the Fairytale/Brady Bunch image isn't REALITY...

From the OC Register -

Yes, this all happened a year ago but it clearly prints the REAL picture of Ms. Lauri Waring/Peterson and George Peterson's integrity and character. Since they continue to perpetuate this Fairytale/Brady Bunch image we thought you should all be privy to their REAL lives as documented in their court cases.

Josh got a job and a company truck, Gina got an aggressive attorney and made headway toward getting her kids back, and this very column became "Exhibit C" in a court case – all part of the ongoing domestic fight involving one of the "Real Housewives." It was a good day.

Some complain that covering this stuff dips into the realm of the tabloids. If it were just the nasty life of some semi-celebrity, I'd agree. But there's an underdog element to this case I find both irresistible and worthwhile of coverage. On one side, you've got the divorced mother of four, Gina Peterson, and the troubled teen, Josh Waring, who was kicked out of the house by his mother. On the other side are Josh's mom – Housewives' diva Lauri Waring –and her newfound sugar daddy-love, who is Gina's millionaire ex-husband, George Peterson. I guess it's that dumb "afflicting-the-comfortable-and-comforting-the-afflicted" thing idealistic journalism professors used to drum into you, post-Watergate.

I started Thursdayat the family-law court in Orange, where Judge Nancy Pollardtried to bring some clarity to the messy custody fight between George and Gina. A few months ago, George got a magistrate to grant an emergency order revoking Gina's partial custody of the four kids they have together. George said it was because Gina had allowed undesirable people to live with her. On Thursday, George also decried what he called Gina's "decision to litigate this case in the media," and submitted as evidence several of my recent columns.

Hmm. Haven't George and Lauri exposed all seven of their collective kids and their problems to a national television audience? Maybe I'm just not hewing to the "Brady Bunch" version Bravo has served up.

Gina says the people living with her included a desperate single mom, the mom's kid, and Josh, who had sought refuge. None are dangerous or bad influences, she argues. George's real motive, she says, is harassment. Since Nov. 9, she says, she's had her kids for four days around both Christmas and New Year's and on two weekends.

Gina gave Pollard declarations written by three of her children in which they say they want to live with her. "I really just want to live with my mommy," 10-year-old Bria scrawled. If I quoted any more, I'd have readers crying all over the county. Fifteen-year-old Slayte's declaration is so full of spite toward George that not even a bottom-dweller like me can bring himself to quote from it. Gina also submitted declarations showing that the people staying with her, including Josh, have moved out.

As Gina's forceful new attorney, Peter Hermes, called George's declarations "a barrage of lies," George sat a few rows back in the spectator area smiling and shaking his head. Lauri sat to his right, stroking the hand he had placed on her knee.

Pollard is brand-newto the case. You get the sense she is very concerned but still doesn't have enough info to take definitive action. She's awaiting reports from a child psychologist and the children's own court-appointed attorney. In the meantime, she made it clear Gina is entitled to the every-other-weekend visits and unlimited phone calls from them. "What I'm concerned about is these little girls being denied access to their mom," Pollard said.

Late in theday, I called Josh. The big news is, a guy I put him in touch with has given him a job servicing vending machines, and he gets use of a truck. He's living with his father in Mission Viejo.

"You can't screw this up," I told him. "A lot of people went out on a limb for you."

"I know, that's what Gina said, too," he replied, sounding excited. "I'm going to have to do a good job."


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