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HPOU wades into the DA race

They’re all in for incumbent Devon Anderson.

Kim Ogg

Kim Ogg

The already intense race for Harris County district attorney became more heated Wednesday with the Houston Police Officer’s Union attacking Democratic candidate Kim Ogg, saying that during her time at Crime Stoppers she violated the privacy of victims she was supposed to help support.

The 5,300-member group is endorsing GOP incumbent Devon Anderson, who declined to comment about the attack, which included a radio ad that was released earlier in the day.

At her news conference later Wednesday, Ogg called the attack a “desperate act,” then accused Anderson of making backroom deals involving a former judge and at least one former police officer, allowing them to avoid prosecution.

“The union’s support of Ms. Anderson, launching an ad 13 days before the election is a desperate act by this incumbent,” Ogg told reporters. She denied any wrongdoing and said the ad was not true.

At the union news conference, Anderson touted her record and thanked area law enforcement agencies for their endorsements.

“Since I’ve been in office, we’ve tried almost 700 jury trials,” Anderson said. “And of those, over 70 percent are violent criminals, the rest are property crimes and a very small percentage are drug cases.”

[…]

During the union’s news conference, Hunt said Ogg’s style was similar to former district attorney Pat Lykos, who was ousted in the 2012 GOP primary by Mike Anderson.

“It’s going to be very much like it was under Pat Lykos,” Hunt said of an Ogg administration. “It would make our job a lot more difficult.”

The union has long protested the so-called “trace case policy” instituted by Lykos, then repealed by Anderson. The police unions want crack cocaine users caught with powder-covered crack pipes to be arrested on felony charges. Citing clogged courts, overcrowded jails and the inability for the defense to re-test the scant amount of evidence, Lykos directed police to ticket those offenders for misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. The policy was applauded by criminal justice system reformers and derided by law enforcement agencies.

“There’s a direct correlation between the trace case people and the amount of burglaries we have,” Hunt said.

Ogg denied the claims made by Hunt and the HPOU and pressed her own charges against Anderson, but that last bit above is what all this really comes down to. Anderson, even with her willingness to make incremental changes in how pot prosecutions are handled, represents the way things have always been done in the Harris County DA’s office. Ogg, like Lykos, represents change. As is always the case with change, not everyone likes the idea. As you know, I agreed with Lykos’ trace case policy, and I do think the DA’s office could stand to do things a little differently. I look forward to seeing what Kim Ogg can do in that position. Ray Hunt would disagree, and that’s fine. That’s why we have elections. Hair Balls has more.

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5 Comments

  1. Steven Houston says:

    Also of interest was how union hating David Jennings was trying to spin the police union’s announcement into a war with the teacher’s union, Gayle Fallon not liking one bit that DA Anderson was willing to devote resources to catching teachers breaking the law on testing. Of course he has no use for unions whatsoever, this latest merely an attempt at political payback against Anderson, so what else is new?

    Regarding the city police union’s stance, consider it for a moment. When Ogg was given a political appointment to start a city gang task force, courtesy of her father’s lengthy career in Texas politics, she never made a single arrest yet claims credit for a major reduction in crime. Those who worked the trenches remember what a poor leader she was, her crazy edicts, and how far removed from the front lines she was. During her reign, the city devoted significantly more resources to fighting gang crime but the biggest change was in complying with state and federal laws regarding who could be entered into the ever growing “gang member database” and how crimes were to be labeled whether they were truly gang member related or not. As with most large organizations, directives to limit listing a crime as gang related and greatly increasing the requirements for who could be listed gave the APPEARANCE of a reduction in gang related crime and fewer members. One might also point out all the erstwhile drug raids pressed by Ogg in order to appease the boss such as the Pedro Oregon case; after all, if you’re going to take the credit for the achievements of others, you must also take responsibility for the downside as well (not a peep out of Ogg).

    Pressured to leave the city after all this, Ogg found another political appointment at Crime Stoppers. In this role too, she worked with police, albeit less directly which suited them just fine. While claiming great successes from the organization as if she was anything more than a figurehead, no one interviewing her thinking of asking the real questions for either of these two posts of hers, she did very little other than just that-claim credit for the work of others. When she was finally given the boot from there, many sighed in relief because she allegedly did more harm than good. If you wants dozens of personal, first hand accounts of Ogg’s crazy demands, erratic behaviors, and lack of leadership skills, by all means pick up a phone and contact the city police union because they have a great many of them. They focused on Ogg’s irresponsible attempt to grab headlines at the expense of a juvenile rape victim but they have many more anecdotes for those who care, the Chronicle unwilling to cast a dim light on their chosen one.

    And as stated previously, an elected DA has zero authority to tell local policing agencies how to conduct their affairs. HPD just finished an independent manpower study that showed they were understaffed thousands of officers for the geography, the population, and for the way their policies are written. Since most small pot arrests are made incident to an investigation into another crime, a traffic stop, an assault, or something else of that nature, changing the rules to offer a way out will not allow massive shifts in manpower. HCSO is even worse for manpower, demanding neighborhood homeowner associations fork over tens of thousands each year to even get basic proactive services; both organizations showing how little these pot arrest changes will impact manpower. The deputies/officers will still need to write a report, still need to Live scan the hand of the pot wielding person, and still deposit the drugs to be tested/destroyed.

    The only way burglaries will be solved at a higher rate is for more manpower to be focused on that area. Most of the cops dedicated to that function are investigators but they are swamped with cases and no resources, many taken for higher profile investigative units such as the whole rape kit sex crime followup. Those investigators had to come from somewhere, that being another one of the costs of following up decades old cases outside the statute of limitations. Unless Ogg is going to demand the major policing agencies dedicate more people to handle burglaries, which she has no power to do, none of that is going to change. Ogg continues to demonstrate a lack of knowledge for the DA’s role across the board, perhaps remembering her role as ADA for a handful of years as an extension of the police (which should not be the case). She would have no authority to change the grand jury system as that is statutorily under the judicial branch of county government, yet she trumpets that as another point she would personally address, repeat this pattern on virtually all of her proposals though some are already in place, Ogg just wants to take credit for them. This is all my opinion based on information I’ve been made privy to over the years, by all means check it out for yourselves.

  2. Paul Kubosh says:

    Steven you write about a lot of stuff. I really wish one day Kuff would hold a lunch meeting where we could all meet. We could all give our word we wouldn’t reveal who we were to anyone. I sure would like to meet people like you and mainstream.

  3. Paul Kubosh says:

    Steven you write about a lot of stuff. I really wish one day Kuff would hold a lunch meeting where we could all meet. We could all give our word we wouldn’t reveal who we were to anyone. I sure would like to meet people like you and mainstream.

  4. Steven Houston says:

    Paul, I would be more than happy to meet you for lunch some weekend way up yonder where the tax rolls list your homestead exemption (maybe Gringos) once the elections are over. I’d already offered Kuff the same courtesy some time back but he occasionally is seen in social circles mulling about… 😉

  5. Paul Kubosh says:

    Yeah, he is easy to recognize with thick goatee.