Ex-La Palma Official Paves His Way to Jail

Times Staff Writer

Kenneth Tipton went to jail Monday after a long-running neighborhood feud that prompted him to resign from the La Palma City Council last week when the council decided to censure him for embarrassing the city.

Tipton, who has been squabbling for some time with neighbors Dag and Pat Fossen over his chickens, a Fossen mailbox he allegedly tore down and a muddy driveway, was found in contempt of court by Orange County Superior Court Judge John H. Smith Jr.

Improper Paving

Smith ruled that Tipton had failed to pave the easement between his home and that of the Fossens “in a professional and workmanlike manner” by Dec. 21, as the judge had ordered a month earlier.


It was the third time Tipton had been found in contempt during the prolonged dispute with the Fossens. This time, he was ordered to stay in Orange County Jail until the roadway is paved with honest-to-goodness concrete that meets city building standards.

The judge was not satisfied by a thin layer of gravel and cement that Tipton applied to the easement. Workmen began pouring real concrete Monday afternoon.

The former councilman’s attorney, Ramon S. Kuzbicki, said his client asked city authorities Dec. 19 whether a permit was required for the pavement but did not receive a response until last Friday--six days after the deadline.

Already Had Permit


City Manager Richard Rowe, however, said he informed Tipton on Dec. 20 that he would not need any permit in addition to one he already had obtained for remodeling his home.

Kuzbicki contended that Tipton had made a “good-faith effort” to comply. The attorney questioned the judge’s conduct, claiming that he repeatedly discussed the case with the press. Also, Kuzbicki insisted, Smith had prejudged the case.

Earlier this month, the La Palma City Council voted 4 to 1 to censure Tipton for repeatedly embarrassing the city. That vote came after Tipton claimed he could not keep a court date because he was out of town on city business--something the other members disputed.