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Home Aliso Viejo Has Aliso Viejo Councilman Tsunoda stepped in it again?

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Has Aliso Viejo Councilman Tsunoda stepped in it again?

Karina Onofre Banner

A new scandal appears to be boiling over in the City of Aliso Viejo, which has a population of 47,823, according to the 2010 census.  Council Member Phil Tsunoda, a Democrat and career government bureaucrat, got in hot water recently when he used city funds to launch a website that should not have been funded by the City.  Now he appears to be advocating for the City of Aliso Viejo to take over a park, so as to cater to Aliso Viejo Little League parents.

The Aliso Viejo City Council directed staff at their last meeting to look for possible solutions to a problem that has developed due to an apparent lack of parking spaces at Woodfield Park.

“The discussion came after the Little League and the Aliso Viejo Community Association, which runs the park, butted heads two months ago. More than a dozen league members stormed out of a Feb. 11 meeting with the AVCA board because the board would not authorize 26 proposed parking spaces at Woodfield Park, 26800 Woodfield Drive, where the league plays baseball games,” according to the O.C. Register.

To understand this issue you have to consider that the City of Aliso Viejo is both a City and a master planned community. As such, some services are provided by the City, and other services are provided by the Aliso Viejo Community Association, according to the City of Aliso Viejo’s website.

A majority of the City’s funding comes from property taxes and sales taxes. These revenues pay for the day-to-day operations of the City.

The City of Aliso Viejo is responsible for providing services such as police protection, fire safety, planning, building and safety, and public works are all responsibilities of the City.”

The Aliso Viejo Community Association (AVCA) is responsible for common area maintenance including parks, greenbelts, parkways and slopes.

The Aliso Viejo Little League’s President, Susan Booth, told the AVCA board in February that the Little League would pay for fencing and to mark the parking spots behind Field 6 to help alleviate sparse parking on busy game days. With about 770 players for the 2013 season, league members had hoped AVCA would give them permission for the parking places before opening day Feb. 23, Booth said, according to the O.C. Register.

AVCA’s board of directors has agreed to spend $3,500 for a parking analysis at Woodfield Park. That is rather generous and they are right to do this before approving any new parking spaces.  There is considerable liability that has to be reviewed and that is precisely what they are doing.

Aliso Viejo’s Mayor, Carmen Cave, has proposed that the city manage Woodfield Park instead of AVCA by “exercising an irrevocable offer of dedication on the park.”  That sounds like eminent domain.

The bottom line for the people of Aliso Viejo is that the actions of their City Council could lead to the City having to absorb the cost of insuring and maintaining fields that are currently well managed by the AVCA.  Who is going to pay for all of this?  Aliso Viejo’s residents are already paying a lot in taxes and assessments.  Do they really want to add to their burden?

Currently, AVCA is liable for activity around the park. But condoning this behavior puts them at greater risk, according to AVCA President Bill Conley, who, according to the O.C. Register, said at a recent board meeting that “a longer-term solution needs to be put in place in order to protect everyone on in the community, not just “a small special interest group within the community.”  Conley is right and Tsunoda and Cave appear to be overreaching.

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13 Comments  comments 

13 Responses

  1. Mike N

    Tsunoda put on quite a show for his fans, pouting in support of his Little League constituents. He has been angling to take over these parks for several years now, and neglects to tell the voters that the only way to pay for them is with an increase in taxes.

  2. Michelle M

    The public saw Mayor Carmen Cave team up with Tsunoda to tag-team their agenda through a council vote. Cave and Tsunoda ran together last election, and they worked together to try to discredit anyone who challenged their cronies. Everyone should watch how they scheme to keep their council majority.

  3. Greenburg

    Now we have political slickster Phil Tsunoda covering for the self-proclaimed “Mother of Aliso Viejo” Carmen Cave. Read more about her fantasy and what the citizens think about the attitude.


  4. Corrine K

    Carmen Cave promised thousands of Little League parents she would fix the parking problem at the ball fields. She has yet to do anything. If her solution includes raising our taxes, then I want a re-do. No more empty promises. NO NEW TAXES!

  5. It may be of interest to your readers that Phil Tsunoda is on the board of directors for the Aliso Viejo Little League.

    Sources in Aliso Viejo tell me that much of this squabbling between the City government and the Community Association’s Board is tied to personal vendettas.

    • Greenburg

      Aliso Viejo Little League and Carmen Cave took over the Community Association meeting, demanding a resolution. Not surprisingly, Cave’s husband, Duane Cave also spoke out demanding more convenient parking for his group of umpires. How one-sided can this thing get?

    • Davis

      How interesting Kurt that you are following this situation so closely. I notice you even have a Facebook page describing the antics of both the Little League “adults” and our “illustrious” city council. It should also be noted that former mayor and Tsunoda cohort Don Garcia was in attendance at the last city meeting, lurking around the back of the council hall. He must still want to see his vision of city-owned parks come to fruition. We all so how that worked out for him in the last election.

  6. More Anaslime

    Well this explains a lot. Phil Tsunoda has a long history of using public time to launch personal vendettas, going back to his time working to Anaheim. Ask his former co-workers and staff. Conflict of Interest is his middle name. It’s not surprising he is on the Little League Board and pressing undue influence.

  7. Tim A.

    Phil wastes taxpayers money by using City resources to advance his personal agenda….which at this time is AVLL, but depending on the month, could vary. His AVLL agenda is only to secure votes for a future election. His actions as a councilmember are never for “the people”, but rather for “the votes”. He is an embarrassment to the City and should take note of the City of Bell. Phil has no relevant experience, his previous and current positions in the public sector are weak and were not earned, but rather “favors” from friends. His accomplishments as a Councilmember are a joke: a website that is a waste, year of the child, etc. Phil needs to grow up and get off of Council, and allow a responsible and respectable citizen who does not have an agenda and wants to do the right thing.

    ps-the right thing does not mean after Council meetings going to Carmen’s house for wine to discuss Council items with other Councimembers.

  8. Anonymous

    It appears that Mr. Tsunoda does not understand that he represents the interest of the whole city and not just a special segment that he has a personal interest as board member of the AVLL. Additionaly, Ms Booth is relentless in trying to get special consideration on top of other short term solutions with set requirements that she will allow to be violated and then return to the community association for more special considerations. At the board meeting I attended, the association board stated rather clearly that short term solutions were not working and that it would be better to come up with a more effective path to address the problem and voted for a traffic study. Not liking the response, Booth appears to have gone to Tsunoda for more assistance and bullying power. Other council members have added their comments which in my opinion did not make sense. The city has engaged in bullying tactics before through the ad hoc committee for sports and it appears, given comments by the master association, began without the invited participation to attend the meeting that would impact the use of their parks, facilities, and the communities financial and physical resources. There is a solution and going the route taken by the City and AVLL is not it.

  9. AVLLMomandDad

    Not all of the Little League parents are supportive of this combative approach with AVCA. Many of us appreciate the beautiful fields and want to work with the association. The rest are sheep who go where they are led.

  10. AVLL Parents

    How many Little League parents saw the Register article this week on our parking plight at Woodfield Park? This back and forth with Aliso’s politicians is getting us nowhere. Carmen Cave promised to fix the problem months ago. Phil Tsunoda has been promising the same, and more, for over a year. I say, fix it now like you promised, or move on to the next campaign promise.

  11. Anonymous

    An update to this story – Carmen Cave, and the last City Council Meeting, encouraged the Little League Board, parents and families to attend the next AVCA Board meeting on May 13th, fill out a speaker’s slip and engage the board in an ‘open, public discussion” about the parking situation. Carmen served on the AVCA board for more than 6 years and knows full well that the Board is not legally permitted to engage in a discussion that is not included on their agenda. This is how politicos like Carmen manipulate the electorate and build themselves up, while tearing others down.