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I oppose the firing of Don Guzman!!
November 4, 2020
To whom it may concern,
I am Kurt R. Higa, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and owner of Anytime Fitness Wailuku. I know Don Guzman and I understand the circumstances of this hearing.
I have been a friend of Don and his family for more than three years. I coach and train Don’s children, Reese and Nealon. More recently, I have been training Don as well. Through these years I have got to know the Don on a personal basis. Enough to call him my friend. A term that I do not use loosely. I have always followed the rule of, “surrounding yourself with good people”. Don is good people. Although our friendship is short and compared to my existence. I feel that I’ve gained an intimate insight of the person he is.
As a trainer and coach, we are very involved with our clients and vicariously live their lives with them. We are not only their trainer and coach but their friend, mentor, confidant and at many times their psychologist. We gain an insight into their lives that most people don’t get to see.
Don is an honest and good man, who has a strong positive personality and a positive outlook on life. Never during our time together has he talked negatively about anyone. Even with his health struggles, that could easily bring someone down. Don has kept to his positive outlook and continues to be great role model. And he continued to dedicate his life to working hard professionally and more importantly, works hard at loving his family.
I am very fortunate to have my view of Don reinforced by listening to how his children talk about him. I am a father of three and nothing makes me prouder than knowing that my children love and respect me. Don’s children love, adore and respect him. They understand that he works long hours, but it is done for them. They also look forward to their family time of playing golf, basketball and camping. Time that they cherish, giving the current pandemic we are living in.
In conclusion, Don is a honest man of integrity and loyalty. One who dedicates his life to serving the public and his family. We are lucky to have this type of person in our community. One who has his priorities straight and one who is not willing to sacrifice integrity over personal gain. A rare personality trait nowadays. This is why I consider Don Guzman my friend.
Kurt R. Higa
Dear Chair Molina:
I am also writing in support of Don Guzman, prosecuting attorney. My name is Paul Greenwood. I have been a lawyer for over 40 years - 13 years in UK and now 29 years as a member of the California Bar in San Diego. I was a deputy district attorney or 25 years and was head of our Elder Abuse Prosecution Unit from 1996-2018. In June 2019 I was a keynote speaker at the Maui Elder Abuse Conference in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It was at that meeting that I first met Don Guzman. He sat through the entire conference, not as a speaker but as an attendee. I have conducted many presentations on elder abuse throughout the nation and across the globe - and rarely have I witnessed an appointed or elected District Attorney sit through a whole conference and absorb the information as Mr Guzman did. Then he invited me and my wife to spend an afternoon at his Office - where I was given the opportunity to address his staff about the rising tide of elder abuse crimes.
Since then I have been involved in Zoom meetings with the Maui Elder Abuse Task Force where Mr Guzman has been a prominent participant.
I have been a career prosecutor and have been privileged to meet many different prosecutors from around the country. Mr Guzman is a class act in my opinion. He is a prosecutor's prosecutor.
I am not political - but I do believe in allowing prosecutors to do their job free from political pressure.
Of course I am not familiar with the undercurrents in Maui politics. All I can speak to is my impressions of a man for whom I have the utmost respect.
Elder abuse is one of the fastest growing crimes in this country. Maui deserves to have a prosecutor who understands the challenges and the issues. Don Guzman is that prosecutor.
Deputy District Attorney - San Diego County retired.
Active member of California Bar #156538
RE: Agenda Item GET-1(3)
Dear Chair Molina,
I am writing in support of Don Guzman, prosecuting attorney and ask that the County Council oppose the Mayor's attempt to fire Mr. Guzman.
Mr. Guzman has been doing an extraordinary job in his position and is making the Dept. "whole" with programs that support his employees and expanding the programs that protect our citizens. We are lucky to have Mr. Guzman as prosecuting attorney.
The Mayor, like our autocratic president, is trying to gain ultimate control and circumvent the built in balance of power in our gov’t. Don’t let him.
The fact that he required other dept. heads to sign un-dated letters of resignation upon their hiring is illegal, immoral and a concrete example of his motivation for ultimate power. He must be stopped.
The people of Maui Nui are counting on your right action and upholding the structure of government that guarantees a balance of power.
I strongly oppose the removal of Don Guzman as Prosecuting Attorney and want to add my voice to the chorus of support for keeping him in his position.
The only publicly available testimony supporting the removal of Don Guzman is the same information submitted twice by an “anonymous” deputy prosecutor. The content is variations of the same complaints, which are very weak, at best. The anonymous alleged prosecutor has a long, rambling, and sometimes incoherent testimony and repeatedly misspells the plural of deputies and defendant making me question whether this person can actually be an attorney. I am more concerned about the petty nature of the alleged prosecutors complaints and possibly their mental health status while having prosecutorial powers over the citizens of this county.
The anonymous prosecutor makes the following statement in what is supposed to be an employment complaint against his/her supervisor. It is irrelevant, highly unprofessional, and should at the very least cast doubt about the validity of their complaints. “In the law enforcement world of criminal prosecution, we have names for people who can’t handle jury trials. They’re called ‘civil attorney’s [sic]’ or more accurately, ‘cowards.’”
In regards to my support for Don Guzman:
I appreciate all of the community efforts Don has initiated related to victims’ rights, domestic violence, abuse/scamming of the elderly, drunk driving awareness, Road Safety Unit, etc. It is definitely a valued asset for the Prosecutor’s Office to do community outreach. They are, after all, a public service paid for by the community.
After reading the existing testimony provided - it seems that the Mayor is bullying county employees by making them sign undated resignation letters. This is absolutely preposterous and seems like a far greater issue than a department head raising his voice at a subordinate. The Mayor also seems out of touch by having a very unrealistic expectation regarding prosecution of 100% of COVID-related citations.
In closing, if we are going to pursue removing Don Guzman as Prosecutor for yelling at a subordinate, I would like to start the removal process of the mayor for yelling at Guzman for wearing an orange shirt as noted during the blessing of the Maui Lani roundabout.
I highly oppose the mayors petition to terminate the prosecuting attorney Mr. Guzman. He is not only highly effective but is one of the best prosecuting attorneys this county has had. David Cain. Attorney
My name is Daniel Soares and I previously sent my support for Don Gusman. I did make the mistake of pressing the wrong button. I meant to oppose his removal. I'm sorry for this mistake. Please do not have him removed
Aloha Chair and Committee
I’m writing in support of Don Guzman.
I first met Don when he created the Ag Working Group to help farmers vet issues prior to Council hearings. Don’s vision helped correct the inefficiencies in a system where people who did not have Ag experience were writing laws that governed Agriculture. His idea was welcomed by the Agriculture and Ranching Communities. He attended nearly every community meeting while he was Agriculture Chair. He was always respectful and diligently listened to our concerns. Don never raised his voice or acted inappropriately with our group. Unlike Mayor Victorino who attended our meeting and did in fact raise his voice and shouted at our group.
The story in the Maui News describes Don making improvements in the Prosecutor’s Office. This came to me as no surprise, because Don has always been known as a problem-solver and finds a way to work with diverse people with opposing positions to find common ground which mutually benefits all the parties putting differences aside and working on focused goals. He loves to work on creating programs and projects to help communities. He has applied the same community enthusiasm and problem-solving at the Prosecutor’s Office, finding innovative ways to create programs and projects to assist our community in the realm of public safety, education for crime prevention and victim support. Don is the kind of person who fixes problems that others ignore.
Mayor Victorino has made a unilateral decision that does not benefit the Citizens of Maui. The Mayor requiring Directors and Deputy Directors to execute pre-signed and undated resignation letters is completely unconscionable conduct and a form of intimidation. The threat is to livelihood and reputation. I hope this council utilizes their authority in the charter to initiate an investigation regarding these pre-signed resignations and compel Mayor Victorino to revoke and destroy such documents that are counter to the intent of the charter. Our government should not be run like a dictatorship! It’s about working the communities interest not the will of the Mayor’s interests.
A few years after I met and worked with Don on Ag Working Group, I became his daughter’s golf coach. During the time of coaching his valedictorian daughter, I heard stories about how much his daughter and sons loved him. I heard story after story of Don being their support and motivation to achieve at an extremely high level.
I’m grateful one of the more recent Council’s saw a need to have Council oversee hiring and firing of Department Heads. I support Don Guzman remaining as Prosecutor for Maui County.
I have known don guzman for a long part of my life. And with in that time he has been like another family member and still remains till this day. In the years I have known him, all he wanted was great things to happen. Whether it was for his dear friends, a stranger or his COMMUNITY, he goes above and beyond to exceed high expectations. Mr. Guzman is a highly respected and intelligent individual and continues non stop to support those dear to him.
Time and time again he has provided for his community in a proficient and effective process.