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Interview with Kim Ogg

Kim Ogg

Kim Ogg

As I said before, there are two strong candidates who merit consideration for your vote for the Democratic nomination for District Attorney. Kim Ogg was our nominee for DA in 2014, having vanquished the annoying perennial candidate that is cluttering the ballot this year as well in that primary, and though she fell short she did garner more votes in Harris County than other Democrats did. Ogg is a former prosecutor, she has been the head of Crime Stoppers and the city of Houston’s anti-gang task force, and she has a long history in politics as the daughter of former State Sen. Jack Ogg. She is now the managing partner of the Ogg Law Firm. I’ve also interviewed her twice before, for the 2014 primary and general elections. Here’s what we talked about this time:

You can see all of my interviews as well as finance reports and other information on candidates on my 2016 Election page.

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7 Comments

  1. Steve Houston says:

    The problem with Ogg so far is that she wants to take credit for everything her opponent did in policy areas and seems unable to provide real reasons why she is particularly qualified for the office. In terms of her experience in the politically appointed city’s gang task force, not once has she provided a single verifiable policy she made or change she implemented that made things better, acting like the appointment itself proves anything at all in terms of her competency.

    Then, her continued suggestions that she can single handedly dictate policies for the HCSO, Houston PD, or any of the myriad of other law enforcement agencies in the county without their input and approval shows she doesn’t even know what the statutory authority the position has, the funding for the DA’s office still firmly controlled by the GOP led Commissioner’s Court. When the bulk of her reform platform is just a more aggressive version of her most likely opponent or tied to the authority of judges, police chiefs, mayors, or other politicians, she sets herself up for another defeat.

  2. Steve Houston says:

    One more thing, perhaps the family of Pedro Oregon should be asked how successful Ogg’s tenure with the city gang task force was since they might rate her by slightly different variables. Some claim any real decrease in gang activity was the result of changes in how people were counted as gang members and what proof was needed to keep them in the system as gang members.

  3. Robert Pruett says:

    The D.A.’s office because of pressure from law enforcement authorities and or police unions implemented the policy of filing felony charges (most of these felonies are reduced to lesser plea deals.) on trace residue amounts of illegal substances. (mostly crack pipes) Let me give you the reasons why this was done and why it is simply not working and creates more problems than it solves. The philosophy was if we kept drug abusers longer in jail. Crime would decrease.. I would say most people would believe this to be a reasonable assumption. However, It smacks of dishonesty and lack of fair play. The District Attorneys Office and Law Enforcement need to work together. However, Police Officers who arrest should stay out of the District Attorney business and In turn the District Attorneys Office should stay out of the Judge’s business. Only then can our judicial system work equally for all. Police Officers are taking hard hits right now and we cannot afford to lose anymore ground in public trust. I served 35 years as a police officer with the last twelve before retiring as a Chief of police. I say to all my fellow officers. Kim Ogg is intelligent, compassionate, and a pro-law enforcement person. Please do not make the mistake of thinking she is soft on crime.

  4. Steve Houston says:

    Robert, running with that thought for a moment, regarding the “need to work together”, I have listened to Ogg from her first campaign announcement and think you might want to listen a little closer. At every turn, she makes proclamations of what she would do without the benefit of either the legal authority to make it happen or garnering the direct input from other parties that might take exception to her stances (waving their concerns away in a belittling manner). For some of us, that attitude grates at times, something you in particular should identify with given your many battles in Galena Park.

  5. Robert Pruett says:

    Steve, I have read a couple of your comments and have found you to be a very intelligent and articulate man. I am afraid should I get in a tit for tat with you. You would win the wordsmith contest.

    “You are correct”, I have been in many battles. 99% percent of these battles followed the termination of police officers who would not follow the rules…Yet, I am still standing.

    Let me tell you a of a personal tragedy and why you cannot change my mind on Kim Ogg.

    In 2003 my little brother was murdered by two drug pushers. My brother suffered a drug addiction that dated by to his Army days at the close of the Vietnam Era. His killers then fled to Mexico. Within a few days, The Director of Crime Stoppers (Kim Ogg) reached out to me with her condolences and further stated, Crime Stoppers has offered a five thousand dollar reward for each of his killers. Family members of the suspects turned them in and collected the reward. I heard later, they used the money to pay their lawyers. Doesn’t matter, both were convicted and sent to prison because of the good work of the prosecutor. Any law enforcement official out there who that states, they do not have a family member immediate or extended who doesn’t suffer from some sort of drug addiction would most likely be alone in the world and not have a family to begin with.

    I did not know Kim Ogg before her call in 2003. She made that call, because she knew I was a grieving police officer who was looking for justice.

    Steve, When we lose our humanity and decency towards each other. We are no longer human.

    I say again, Kim Ogg would be a very qualified and compassionate District Attorney. This compassion would drive her into seeking justice for all crime victims including police officers on duty or not…

  6. Steve Houston says:

    Robert, I met Ms. Ogg and her dad years back, both were intelligent and articulate; the kind of people one would want to gravitate toward public service. With Kim, she always wanted to be in elected office (as judge) though she worried the electorate would want nothing to do with her for reasons irrelevant to this discussion. Somewhere along the way, that goal became her quest above all else, her tenure with Houston unremarkable to say the least. Those who sat in on meetings or had to listen to her lecture them describe the experience in a way that would cause most of us to shy off, that being the most diplomatic and generous manner of describing their comments.

    Across the city under her rule, the anti-gang task force became very numbers driven in a way that many describe the way the District Attorney’s office was. The quality of work was not a consideration compared to number of arrests or entering people into the database based on the flimsiest of reasons, and as a police chief at one time, I’m sure you can understand how damaging such a label could be to someone in so many ways. It was so bad that the much needed reforms forced tossing out many of the entries as not meeting the new criteria imposed upon Ms. Ogg and her minions, very little REAL anti-gang work done so much as an ongoing dog and pony show. That is why it bothers some folks to hear her claim the number of gang members decreased by “over 40%” when the “decrease” was merely cleaning up sloppy, numbers driven junk data entry that could include some terrified neighbor simply because someone documented her talking to the wrong person, the idea of guilt by association encouraged.

    Those that dealt with her in the DA’s office, the city, and Crime Stoppers all have very different accounts of her qualities than she does but lacking a better candidate, sure she’d be qualified. Taking exception to her claims of the past doesn’t change that but given her willingness to hire former yellow journalists as staffers and tell us how she would make demands on other officials as a chief means of reform just doesn’t work for me. If that sounds like I’m complaining about the fine tuning of an otherwise good candidate, I’m okay with that and I wouldn’t want to try and convert you away from her given your anecdotal account but it helps provide needed balance in knowing just what you’re voting for. Anderson has her own flaws, not as deep or numerous, and there are other candidates in the mix (“ABL”=Anyone But Lloyd) but I’d prefer to see Ogg ease up on the false indignation before seriously considering her for office.

    On an aside note, as I don’t live in Galena Park and only read about events there sporadically, I have to admit that standing or not, you’ve certainly proven to be quite a lightning rod for controversy. Did you ever work something out with the mayor that wanted you tossed on your ear? That alone seemed like it’d make fascinating reading, colorful people clashing not always the fault of those parties so much as the circumstances surrounding them. Whatever the case, I appreciate your service to the community over your career, I’ll bet you have some great stories to tell. 🙂

  7. John Karshner says:

    I have listened to your interview with Kim Ogg, and I don’t see how your comments (outside of the interview) jive with the interview. Likewise, your negative opinionated comments about Ms. Ogg, alluding to her making self- aggrandizing claims, neither match the interview or what I know about Kim Ogg- whom I support for District Attorney. I spent three decades in the Houston Police Department, and had a career that ranged from foot patrol downtown, to supervisor of gang and organized crime investigations and counter-terrorism in this city. During that time I often crossed paths with Kim Ogg for prosecuting criminals, building investigations, and enhancing the quality of life of the citizens in our metropolitan area.

    I recall one afternoon, in northeast Houston, a human predator tried to kidnap a little girl right off the street and it was later found he previously had kidnapped, violated, and murdered another child. Kim was the prosecutor and worked closely with all the officers involved in the case. We were all impressed with Kim’s tenacity and integrity, and that she got justice for the victims and for the perpetrator.

    When the gang problem exploded in the 1990’s, I was tasked with gang intelligence and special enforcement issues. Our greatest problem at that time was keeping Houston from becoming as gang infested as Los Angeles or Chicago. Kim Ogg, in the Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office, was always trying to stay ahead of the gang problem here. Of the many gang issues she faced, Kim committed the Office to gang graffiti and tagging removal, identifying criminal gang members and, while seeking enhancement for gang crimes, she looked for ways to provide diversion programs and a way out of the gang culture- particularly for young people. Kim Ogg and I, on a number of occasions, discussed these issues and how to get ahead (and stay ahead) of the gang problem. As an aside, when Kim was in the Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office, she always had time to help someone whose property had been tagged, or hit with gang graffiti. One particular case I remember, in an even poorer part of our police district, an elderly widow in a white house was terrified when she awoke to find the side of her house had been tagged with gang graffiti. I called Kim’s office and (as part of her graffiti abatement program of the time) a team quickly came out and got rid of the tagging and solaced the terrified woman. In my opinion, concepts, policies, and programs are simply empty rhetoric if they don’t relate to helping the smallest of people in our community when they are in need. Whenever I had a problem like this, I knew that if I contacted Kim Ogg we would get the assistance we needed. I was never disappointed, and neither were the citizens who needed that assistance.

    Finally, we could always count on Kim to give good counsel. We had a particularly bad case some years back where a woman in North Houston had organized a drug gang of young people, and was selling toluene to little children to “huff” and get intoxicated. Toluene does permanent brain damage and we had a victim ten years old. The law at the time was weak regarding that activity, and several Harris County prosecutors declined prosecution. I approached Kim with the problem and, though she couldn’t take the case, she assisted us and found an assistant DA who would work with us. A year later we arrested the vending offender, seized three gallons of toluene, and took the rest of her family immediately to answer to a grand jury. The woman was found guilty of a state jail felony and did two years in jail, but most importantly it uprooted her in that community and ended the poison she was pushing on small children. Later, Kim Ogg and my lead officer on that case would go to Austin and testify for the strengthening of the laws against those who would sell or dispense inhalants to children- and the law passed in one session. In Texas, as you know, that’s almost unheard of. My officer, and Kim, were recognized by the chief of police for their exemplary effort and given a public commendation for their service to the community.

    So I have seen Kim Ogg as a prosecutor, in the Mayors Anti-Gang office, leading crime stoppers, and as one who always put forth a concerted effort to see that justice was done for the victim and the accused. I know that there is no other candidate that can match her breadth of experience in so many venues of service to our community, and who has Kim Ogg ’s proven track record of making a difference in the quality of life for the people in metropolitan Houston.

    As far as opinions go, you are entitled to yours. However, I know that Kim Ogg is the best, and most qualified, person for Harris County District Attorney.

    With regards, John Karshner

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