If you read my Mar. 3 story on yesterday’s crazy County Council hearing on the reappointment of county Prosecutor John D. Kim, then you know that the big takeaways were (1) What was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Richard Minatoya (who supported Kim) going to say about County Councilman Don Guzman (who opposed Kim) before Council Chairman Mike White cut him off? and (2) What was that squirrel photo that Minatoya supposedly posted to Facebook that White and Guzman found so “repulsive” that they referred to it ominously during the hearing?
Fear not, readers, for I have obtained both (neither actually came from Minatoya, but he confirmed their authenticity). Above is the meme that Minatoya posted on his personal Facebook page that caused so much consternation to White and Guzman. And below is the text of Minatoya’s original statement (without any editing) as he intended to present it at the March 3 County Council hearing. Enjoy!
My name is Richard Minatoya, I am a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, but I am on vacation and here testifying as a private individual – JD Kim did not know until now, that I was going to testify.j
I’m here to address a travesty – a blatant case of abuse of power and authority – something that all attorneys are supposed to stand up against. Many of you are being led to believe that the prosecutors’ office is mismanaged. And yet, not a complaint was filed in the last four years against Mr. Kim. Instead, these matters conveniently appear during Mr. Kim’s confirmation hearing.
People believe that the reason why JD Kim has not yet been confirmed by the Council is because of things such as personnel matters and mismanagement. It is not. Let me tell you publicly the real reason why this is happening.
Shortly after the general election and before this whole confirmation process started, Councilmembers Guzman and Cochran met with JD and First Deputy Prosecutor Robert Rivera. The topic was me. Councilmember Guzman, in violation of County Charter Section 3-8.2, presented JD with a petition, admitting that he solicited the signatures, demanding my termination based on a frivolous accusation against me about a post I made on Facebook. Councilmembers Guzman and Cochran also stated that Council Chair White and Councilmember Crivello also had complaints against me. This was a blatant attempt to pressure JD with the then-upcoming confirmation process to terminate me. I HAVE SINCE LEARNED THAT COUNCILMEMBER CRIVELLO HAD NO KNOWLEDGE THAT HER NAME WAS BEING USED IN THIS CONSPIRACY TO VIOLATE THE CHARTER.
JD refused to succomb to such pressures from Councilmember Guzman and Cochran to terminate me and simply responded that terminating me for my Facebook postings was a violation of my First Amendment right, something that was already established in the Mamuad case by this Council. JD also stated that he did not want to make me rich by creating a cause of action by me against the County. Only then did Councilmember Guzman state that he “didn’t want anything to happen” to me. Councilmember Cochran stated, also in violation of the Charter, “What do you mean you don’t want anything to happen to him. Something should happen to him.” Councilmember Guzman closed by stating that he “did not want a problem in the next election.” This statement alone proves that the purpose of Councilmembers Guzman and Cochran’s meeting with JD was both political and personal…a clear ethical violation.
There it is, the TRUE reason for all of this: Councilmember Guzman’s own political benefit. Viewing my Facebook posts, my First Amendment right as per the precedent established by this Council, as a threat, and in retaliation for objecting to Neldon Mamuad’s nomination papers (Mamuad being Councilmember Guzman’s friend, supporter, confidante and then-employee), Councilmember Guzman attempted to have me terminated through JD. Because JD would not give in to such pressure, Councilmember Guzman now targets JD.
Councilmember Guzman apparently claims that his actions in this process are for the benefit of former and current employees who disagree with JD. This is a farce. Supervision of departments is a function of the Administration, pursuant to County Charter Section 7-5.1 , and not a function of the Council. Councilmember Guzman, however, is using this for his own personal and political benefit, and clearly not to help anyone else.
I offered to tender my resignation to JD on several occasions after Councilmember Guzman started this fiasco. JD, however, refused to give in to this blatant abuse of power and authority and violation of the County Charter.
I urge the Council to stop letting Councilmember Guzman act like a puppet master, otherwise, those who side with Guzman may be complicit in his attempt to profit politically by besmirching the good name of an honorable man such as JD Kim. He has brought tremendous improvements to the prosecutors’ office and is indeed deserving to serve another term as prosecutor. Judge JD Kim on the totality of his record as the prosecutor and not solely on the handful of complaints which I can only characterize as disingenuous.
Please end this shibai now and confirm JD, so that we ALL can get back to doing the people’s business.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to testify.