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Democratic Primary: Kim Ogg

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By Mariam Afshar

Kim Ogg is running for Harris County district attorney and you should vote for her. This isn’t some fluffed up piece about things that don’t matter in an election, nor is it about why you shouldn’t vote for her opponent, Lloyd Oliver, in the Democratic Primary, these are real reasons why she is the better choice and a badass.

Kim Ogg was the Executive director of Crime Stoppers, whose dedication resulted in the arrest of thousands of felons for unsolved murders, rapes, robberies and serious property crimes. She also ‘served as Houston’s first Anti-Gang Task Force Director and oversaw a 40 percent reduction in gang violence.’ Her success in these roles is due to a ”well thought-out plan and relentless execution of that plan.”

Kim believes that our streets should be safer, as we all do, and one of the ways she wants to make this happen, is by targeting real criminals- violent predators and gang members who commit serious crimes. Wasting tax dollars on prosecuting and jailing thousands of low-level drug offenders is not what is going to make it safe to walk around the city at night. I had the opportunity to speak to Kim via email and ask her a few questions about her stance and her plans for the District Attorney’s office. Below you will see why Kim Ogg is the person who will make the right changes in our city.

Will you use the same techniques that made you successful in your roles as Executive Directer of Crime Stoppers and Anti-Gang Task Force Director, in the position of District Attorney, should you be elected?

Yes, there is so much reform that is needed and it will take all my energy, intelligence, experience and effort to re-prioritize the efforts of prosecutors and police to effect public policy that decreases crime and improves our quality of life.

You want to use 21st century tactics to make our city safer, what are these tactics? How do you expect they will make Houston safer?

The Clean and Green Work program is one such program which will divert thousands of offenders out of jails and into community service which will benefit our whole community.  I also intend to shift the focus of prosecutors off of all such low level drug offense prosecution and instead provide clear direction and resources towards the investigation and prosecution of organized crime and gang-related violence.   I will also modernize the DA’s Office itself, beginning with implementation of a case management system, something no private law firm would ever operate without.  Unfortunately no such system currently exists or is employed by the Harris County DA’s Office.

You want to put non-violent criminals to work for our city, cleaning waterways and bayous, has there been push back on this? Would this be part of a rehabilitation program?

No push back has been experienced yet.  In fact, the Clean & Green Program currently utilizes hundreds of probationers each year to clean Buffalo Bayou.  I simply want to expand this program to offer it first to all offenders arrested for Possession of Marijuana, under 4 0z.  That’s more than 13,000 people per year and by diverting them from jail and into the work program, our system will reap an immediate savings of more than $4.5 Million dollars.  This would be considered a ‘rehabilitation’ program, but it would do more than that, in that offenders who successfully complete the 2-day program will not have a permanent criminal record as a result of their marijuana charge.  Once the program is operational and successful, I will expand the program to include those offenders charged with small amounts of cocaine.

Your opponent seems to think that domestic violence is ‘over-rated’ and wants to direct funds to the county’s other issues, how do you plan to get justice for domestic violence victims?

By diverting resources away from prosecution and jailing of low level drug offenders, more resources will be available to prosecute domestic violence cases.  Many such cases arise in the same families on a repeated basis, and what can be predicted can be prevented. For this reason, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office will partner with community organizations dedicated to prevention and reduction of family violence through counseling and increased awareness in all cultures and at all socio-economic levels of our citizenry.

Another plan you have is to effectively investigate and prosecute gangs and drug cartels who are responsible for increasing murders, human trafficking, and burglaries of our cars and homes, Mayor Annise Parker started the Shine a Light on Human Trafficking program, how will your offices work together to stop human trafficking? How will you help the victims of these crimes? 

We will partner with the Harris County Attorney’s Office to utilize civil nuisance laws to prevent landlords from renting or leasing their properties to human sex trafficking operations.  The Harris County District Attorney’s Office will encourage intelligence divisions of local law enforcement organizations to seek the DA’s Office assistance in working prostitution cases ‘upward and downward’ so that pimps and johns are also held accountable every time a prostitute is arrested and prosecuted.

What do you hope to accomplish in your first year, if you were to be elected?

I will immediately end the practice of treating economically disadvantaged offenders accused of crimes differently than those with monetary resources by insuring that all Asst. District Attorneys strongly consider the recommendations of our pre-trial division in recommending pre-trial bonds.  Additionally, I will end the practice of acceptance of ‘trace’ cocaine cases where drugs in amounts too small to be tested by the defense are the subject of the arrest.  Such cases will no longer be acceptable because they violate due process and basic fairness.

Let me sum that up for you. She wants to stop wasting your tax dollars on prosecuting and jailing non-violent small-time drug offenders and instead use that money to get the real criminals, the violent criminals. Kim is focusing her attention on things that will make a difference in our city and keep it’s citizens safe. Voting for the Primary is March 4th.

Kim also asks that you join her by making a contribution to the Houston Area Women’s Center or sign up to volunteer.