La Habra Heights mayor sues former ca...

La Habra Heights mayor sues former candidate for slander

There are 31 comments on the Whittier Daily News story from Nov 9, 2009, titled La Habra Heights mayor sues former candidate for slander. In it, Whittier Daily News reports that:

Mayor Howard Vipperman has sued George Edwards, an unsuccessful candidate for City Council and most recently water board, for slander and over an ownership dispute regarding radios used by the La Habra Fire Watch, a fire prevention group.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Whittier Daily News.

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United States

#1 Nov 9, 2009
Karen sent Firewatch members and others the following email. Can't see how George misrepresented who provided the radios since Karen Vipperman mentions Howard as providing radios in her resignation letter. A couple of good question to ask are, can you legally ask for a donation to be returned and why does Howard want to gain possession of the radios? My guess this is politically motivated and character assignation of an opponent.

Letter:

I am regretfully giving my resignation from the Board of Directors of Fire Watch as well as my membership. It is a wonderful group with a wonderful concept and a much needed program for our community.
Unfortunately a few members of the group persist in getting up at council meetings and planning meetings and express aggression, anger, agitation, etc. toward many issues. Although there is freedom of speech in this wonderful country, I feel that respect and decorum are important in our choice to exercise our freedom of speech. It has been a very awkward position for me to be in. My husband is on the City Council and as a result of the poor image that Fire Watch has with some of the community due to the aggressive behavior of the few members, it place myself and him in a painful position.
Howard has given much to Fire Watch. He has provided some of the radios that are in the program, I think he helped finance a repeater although I'm not sure of that as he doesn't boast even to me of the kind acts he performs regularly. He has provided us with that lovely classroom, paid for the wonderful treats we bring. He has patrolled on many occasions, manned our fire truck all day on Nov. 15, patrolled all day on the 4th of July as well as many other times. He has protected us against city staff who have, in the past, sent nasty letters out about us or worked to malign the group. He has taken much heat for backing us with some sectors of the community due to the few members whose behavior brings negative light to the wonderful program.
Unfortunately,that image has prevented some people from joining us, who would otherwise. This has been stated to me by many over the past year and a half. It has been stated to some of you as well.
This election has put some strain on some of our relationships as we have some varying political beliefs. Isn't it wonderful that we can have them and express them in America. There were two really nasty hit letters sent out a few days ago against Howard, Layne, and Carl. I am pleased to be able to say that the three candidates I back didn't participate in any of that although there are certainly issues they could have dragged up if they were that kind of person. If they did, I wouldn't have backed them. Things have been said against Howard by a few of you during this time. He may not be perfect and he may occasionally make a mistake, but the good he has done for the group and the community is who he is. He is an honest, kind, generous, caring man.

Fire Watch is a wonderful concept. I will continue to speak well of it in the community. I do hope that the vocal minority in the group may someday understand that it undermines the whole group and puts some of the members in awkward positions when they get up several times at every meeting and act aggressively. It is just bad manners and does compromise the image of the group. It is such a shame. This group has done some wonderful things and has come a long way.
I do hope that we don't continue the same mistakes that some of our older members of the community do. That is to hold onto angers from the past and not be nice to each other or work together on projects that may bring us together. Life is too short and too wonderful. Take care, be good, and do good things.

Sincerely, Karen Vipperman
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United States

#2 Nov 9, 2009
Karen sent Firewatch members and others the following email. Can't see how George misrepresented who provided the radios since Karen Vipperman mentions Howard as providing radios in her resignation letter. A couple of good question to ask are, can you legally ask for a donation to be returned and why does Howard want to gain possession of the radios? My guess this is politically motivated and character assignation of an opponent.

Letter:

I am regretfully giving my resignation from the Board of Directors of Fire Watch as well as my membership. It is a wonderful group with a wonderful concept and a much needed program for our community.
Unfortunately a few members of the group persist in getting up at council meetings and planning meetings and express aggression, anger, agitation, etc. toward many issues. Although there is freedom of speech in this wonderful country, I feel that respect and decorum are important in our choice to exercise our freedom of speech. It has been a very awkward position for me to be in. My husband is on the City Council and as a result of the poor image that Fire Watch has with some of the community due to the aggressive behavior of the few members, it place myself and him in a painful position.
Howard has given much to Fire Watch. He has provided some of the radios that are in the program, I think he helped finance a repeater although I'm not sure of that as he doesn't boast even to me of the kind acts he performs regularly. He has provided us with that lovely classroom, paid for the wonderful treats we bring. He has patrolled on many occasions, manned our fire truck all day on Nov. 15, patrolled all day on the 4th of July as well as many other times. He has protected us against city staff who have, in the past, sent nasty letters out about us or worked to malign the group. He has taken much heat for backing us with some sectors of the community due to the few members whose behavior brings negative light to the wonderful program.
Unfortunately,that image has prevented some people from joining us, who would otherwise. This has been stated to me by many over the past year and a half. It has been stated to some of you as well.
This election has put some strain on some of our relationships as we have some varying political beliefs. Isn't it wonderful that we can have them and express them in America. There were two really nasty hit letters sent out a few days ago against Howard, Layne, and Carl. I am pleased to be able to say that the three candidates I back didn't participate in any of that although there are certainly issues they could have dragged up if they were that kind of person. If they did, I wouldn't have backed them. Things have been said against Howard by a few of you during this time. He may not be perfect and he may occasionally make a mistake, but the good he has done for the group and the community is who he is. He is an honest, kind, generous, caring man.

Fire Watch is a wonderful concept. I will continue to speak well of it in the community. I do hope that the vocal minority in the group may someday understand that it undermines the whole group and puts some of the members in awkward positions when they get up several times at every meeting and act aggressively. It is just bad manners and does compromise the image of the group. It is such a shame. This group has done some wonderful things and has come a long way.
I do hope that we don't continue the same mistakes that some of our older members of the community do. That is to hold onto angers from the past and not be nice to each other or work together on projects that may bring us together. Life is too short and too wonderful. Take care, be good, and do good things.
Sincerely, Karen Vipperman
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United States

#3 Nov 9, 2009
In a message dated 8/27/2009 11:10:21 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,___writes:

Good morning Karen:

The LHHFW board met last night. While there is clearly much we do not know about the 7/26/07 $4,059 check from Howard (such as what was it intended for - as there is no memo on the check) it is clear that it was written to George Edwards personally before Fire Watch came into existence.

It is also clear, from the documents that I forwarded to you earlier, that six radios were purchased from B&W by East Heights Volunteer Fire Department and paid for by a check drawn on that organization's account dated 8/23/2007 in the amount of $3,864.53. During our meeting last night, George advised that he and Julie owned (EHVFD) and that the radios that were itemized in the B&W invoice (serial numbers 6I140091, 94, 97, 98, 99 and 5N050360) had been loaned, not donated, to LHHFW members.

That being the case, LHHFW has no place in any disagreement over ownership of the radios. I will, in due course, notify the present radio possessors that LHHFW does not own their radios, but that they appear to be on loan to each of them from EHVFD.
To be consistent with our rules, if the radios leave LHHFW we will have to remove access to our repeaters and network from the unit removed.

This is clearly not a satisfying result from my view but it appears to be the only way LHHFW can remain out of a conflict over ownership in which it has no true place.
For me, personally, the best result would for each of the Vipperman and Edwards families to do a Deed of Gift of the radios to LHHFW thereby ending any ownership disputes over these radios. That resolution is neither a win nor loss for either position. Should those decisions occur, only LHHFW wins. Perhaps not Solomonic but a reasonable result since the one thing that truly unites us all is a desire for Fire Watch to prosper. In an excess of optimism, I am including a form Deed of Gift which could be used as I suggest.

It also appears that somehow your niece ended up with a radio that Sandy and Jim Dykier purchased (probably switched inadvertently when originally delivered). I'll find out what serial number Sandy has. If she has 6E080060 than you can either exchange them or simply agree that each of you own the respective radio in your possession. If not we will try to find that serial among our members. I'm not sure that it really matters since the purchases were well over two years ago and I suspect that everyone is used to their possessed radio.

The board will canvas the members and add their unit serial numbers to our roster. I truly hope that this works out as I view both families as friends and supporters of LHHFW! Best of luck in making your respective decisions.

Karen Vippermans response to a settlement?

"No Comment"
The Dude

Whittier, CA

#4 Nov 9, 2009
WOW !!!!$4,059 for six $250 radios !!! someone went out for some nice dinners or bought some of the good weed....
Harriss

Whittier, CA

#5 Nov 9, 2009
It is an exclusive area. We don't allow fire trucks in the heights unless the hoses have been properly laundered, starched, and pressed. That costs money.

Dirty campaign money is an oxymoron. All campaign money in the Heights is dirty.
Hot

AOL

#6 Nov 10, 2009
Hey, that Edwards guy is a real hottie.
Real Stupid People

Cardington, OH

#7 Nov 10, 2009
Email excerpt written by Mrs. Karen Vipperman and circulated on the Internet.
"…I don't really understand that some people are still angry or hateful about the past.
There's a lot of that in this city with the generation that is older than us and I hate to see our generation perpetuate it, but some just will…I really do think that suing people and turning people in for things is not nice. But it is a person's right to choose to act that way…Karen V"
I would conclude by Karen's own written statement Howard Vipperman is not nice. Suing to take property that belongs to a non-profit is bad form. We should question the morals of the Vippermans and their true motivation to go after yet another community group, who will be next?
Art

Montclair, CA

#8 Nov 10, 2009
George for PRESIDENT!!! Gotta love that guy.. He stands up to those so called leaders.. It's all about gains.. George is all about the people and there safety... Not hard to figure George out.. If I lived in the Heights, I'd have his back... His intentions are not motivated by money.. He is a caring individual.. Vote for George!!!
Fred

Norwalk, CA

#9 Nov 10, 2009
Seems to me this Vipper (rhymes with zipper) guy is a public figure. I hope the judge bounces his suit with costs and attorney fees to the defendant and asks heavy sanctions against him and his law firm for wasting the Courts time and the County resources.
Reality Check

La Habra, CA

#10 Nov 10, 2009
Dude...Izod polo shirt and gold necklaces went out in the 80's...yuck!
Resident

Van Nuys, CA

#11 Nov 10, 2009
Fred wrote:
Seems to me this Vipper (rhymes with zipper) guy is a public figure. I hope the judge bounces his suit with costs and attorney fees to the defendant and asks heavy sanctions against him and his law firm for wasting the Courts time and the County resources.
Absolutey, being an elected official requires thick skin and the ability to scrug off the minor irritants. Vipper should let it go or resign and stop picking on his constituents.Seems like he can't handle the job.
George Edwardz

Los Angeles, CA

#12 Nov 10, 2009
Reality Check wrote:
Dude...Izod polo shirt and gold necklaces went out in the 80's...yuck!
It’s not like I knew they were coming over and had time to change. At least I was not wearing shorts that day.

FYI The white gold chain and unity pendant was custom made by "Jewels by Jacob" of La Habra. Sage green polo shirt is from Lacoste "Red Collection"
2-Way radio by Vertex and is a Model 929 512 Channel with MDC1200 UHF version (in for repair)

Listen to the La Habra Heights Fire Watch live on the Internet at: www.LHHFIREWATCH.com
Perspective

Rosemead, CA

#13 Nov 10, 2009
Must be a slow news day to focus on this in La Habra Heights. The lawsuit makes thw Mayor appear petty...don't these people in the Heights have anything better to do than play with walkie-talkies? LAME!
A Fire Watch Member

AOL

#14 Nov 10, 2009
I want to say this. I joined Fire Watch sometime ago. I spoke with Mrs. Vipperman about me joining because I was told she was the head of Fire Watch. She told me distinctly, that a radio must be purchased for about $850. I purchased that radio. She also stated that she and her husband had donated about 5 radios to Fire Watch and they would do no more. In order to become a member, you must purchase a radio.

Now I understand that Mr. Vipperman is contradicting what his wife has declared over and over about the "donated" radios by filing a lawsuit against George Edwardz. Hello? are they dumb? Do they not remember what they have said to a group of people over and over again?

To make matters more clear...Alot of people who voted for Howard and have questioned some of his decisons, now are made overt enemies, subject to public humiliation and/or outright hatred and unlawful consequences. I for one, will file a declaration as to Mrs. Vipperman's numerous comments about Howard (her sweet and generous husband) who donated to Fire Watch several radios for the benefit of the community and for the benefit of George Edwardz. Now we find out they were not donated to Fire Watch at all, but were the property of another entity. What is this Mayor doing? Payola? Quid Pro Quo? Hushness? Favors? In addition to my experience with Mrs. Vipperman and her utter disrespect for our Fire Department, I find her turncoat qualities, thru her husband, utterly unpaletable. These Vippermans are insane thinkers, no doubt in my mind. Will I be bullied by them? NO WAY!! How dare they threaten people in this community of La Habra Heights with strong arm tactics. Who do they think they are except a couple of low life, low class renegrades who are addicted to ruining good people who may hold different beliefs then them or may attempt to live their private lives without the Vipperman' interfering. God save La Habra Heights...is it World War II all over again?
A Fire Watch Member

AOL

#15 Nov 10, 2009
Correction. The benefit to George Edwardz will be a delcaration stating Karen Vipperman clearly stated to me and the Fire Watch group in general that her sweet and generous husband DONATED several radios...of which she also revealed who were in possesion of the radios (individuals).
pam

Lake Havasu City, AZ

#16 Nov 10, 2009
This doesn't shed a very good light on the people involved in La Habra Heights politics and volunteers.
From the outside looking in, you all look like a bunch of cry babies and weenie whiners! The people in this article all seem to look unethical and lame!
This gentleman on the front page looks like an idiot going public with a law suit and airing everyones dirty laundry on the front page.
Get the darn radios back (since you claim to own them) and get over it!
Perspective

AOL

#17 Nov 10, 2009
What good will come from the Mayor's lawsuit? Seriously, none. In fact, it will hurt the Mayor tremendously. A DA complaint (again) has been filed,(scrutiny that he, Howard, should not want), George Edwards lost the Water District Board by ONLY 37 votes, all of his voters will oppose Mayor Vipperman that supported George Edwardz. The Mayor and his wife are mounting enemies one by one, alienating themselves to just the old folks on the LHHIA (a dying breed), and creating too much controversy in this SMALL city. The word is out that everyone should beware of the Mayor, his wife and their hostile and emotional retaliation. Conservatives are shaking their heads and wondering why the mayor strikes with vengence? Opposers of Viperman are scratching their heads wondering if he is healthy in mind and being. The non-carers and non-participants are holding their heads in shame for living in a city with such a vindictive/dictator mayor. Citizens should carefully consider what is going on and research how to disenthrone our Mayor. Afterall, he diserves it. Google him...he likes power and throwing his power around (especially on the underprivileged or employees)(or especially, citizen's who oppose him). Do you want this man representing YOUR CITY?
member

United States

#18 Nov 11, 2009
A Fire Watch Member wrote:
She told me distinctly, that a radio must be purchased for about $850. I purchased that radio. She also stated that she and her husband had donated about 5 radios to Fire Watch and they would do no more. In order to become a member, you must purchase a radio.
Now I understand that Mr. Vipperman is contradicting what his wife has declared over and over about the "donated" radios by filing a lawsuit against George Edwardz. Hello? are they dumb? Do they not remember what they have said to a group of people over and over again?
Radios are priced from $100 for a used radio up to $610 for a new radio. I would assume since the Firewatch did not incorporated until 2008 the only people capable of accepting the donation was the East Heights fire patrol. And lets forget that George is not the only one with a fire truck. The Vippermans also have one that is painted yellow.
Vippers Suing More People

Bell Gardens, CA

#19 Nov 11, 2009
An important part of the lawsuit story was left out.

The Vipperman suit names "Does 1-100 "as defendants, besides Edwards and his wife. He will add the 100 names when he decides who else has to be silenced.

If you are one who dared to disagree with him, you may find yourself part of his political hit lawsuit against the community.

The tyranny of the dictatorship needs to be stopped.
Not a fire watch member

Van Nuys, CA

#20 Nov 11, 2009
Perspective wrote:
What good will come from the Mayor's lawsuit? Seriously, none. In fact, it will hurt the Mayor tremendously. A DA complaint (again) has been filed,(scrutiny that he, Howard, should not want), George Edwards lost the Water District Board by ONLY 37 votes, all of his voters will oppose Mayor Vipperman that supported George Edwardz.
The gap has narrowed to 23 votes the last I saw on the County Website.

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