Thursday, January 20, 2022

Dane Schiller: Kim Ogg's Minister of Misinformation

I have to admit that I don't remember Dane Schiller from the days before he took the job as Kim Ogg's Director of Communication at the D.A.'s Office.  Maybe our paths never crossed.  If they did, I don't recall it.  I hear from my friends in the journalism business that he was a pretty good reporter.

When he took the job for the incoming Ogg Administration back in the beginning, his was not a name that I was familiar with, and I certainly had no beef with him.  Then again, other than that small matter of her firing almost forty potential political enemies experienced prosecutors right off the bat, I didn't really have that big of an issue with Kim Ogg herself back then.  I was supportive of Ogg's platform when she ran for District Attorney the first time and I voted for her -- a mistake I've regretted since early on in her administration.

But, I digress.  The point I'm trying to make here is that I never had a personal beef with Dane.  As a matter of fact, we actually went through almost the entirety of Ogg's first term on pretty friendly terms.  I still have several e-mails in my archives of him sending me very nice messages for various and sundry things.  He appreciated when I supported Ogg's request for more prosecutors.  He forwarded me a copy of the paper when there was a picture of me and my kids.  I think I last heard from him when he sent me a nice note after I wrote this post at the beginning of the pandemic.

He used to call me "amigo"!  My, how times have changed.

As it turns out, old Dane has been working very hard behind the scene any time any media outlet quotes me with any critique of the Ogg Administration.  His method of response is usually an ad hominem attack on me, which highlights three points:  1) I'm a disgruntled former prosecutor who was fired from my job; 2) I'm a Republican; and 3) I've always hated Kim Ogg.  He lets the reporter and/or news agency know these things rather than argue against any of the substance of my critiques.  In at least one instance, he asked the news agency to print those three things.

So, let's run these things through the old fact-checker, real quick.

1.  The Disgruntled Fired Prosecutor --  to be fair, I bring a lot of this critique on myself, having gleefully pointed out my record for having been "fired twice" from the D.A.'s Office.  The reason that I've always pointed it out myself is because the reasons for my firing had nothing to do with my job performance, and it was laughable to think so.  In my nine and a half years as a prosecutor, I received only one negative evaluation (which was deserved -- I dropped the ball on a couple of things around the time my oldest was born).  I loved working with my co-workers. I was pretty reasonable to deal with and I wasn't half bad at trial.

I was fired (the first time) by Pat Lykos when she chose not to renew my contract when she took office.  It wasn't a surprise to anyone.  I had campaigned hard for Kelly Siegler and I took a lot of potshots at Lykos on this blog.  The moment Lykos won the election, I started making plans for a future in the defense bar.  It was common sense.  I got fired (the second time) when Ken Magidson decided that the contents of this blog were too disruptive for me to continue in my final week as a prosecutor.  Never mind that the contents of the blog were written in my off time and probably protected by the 1st Amendment at the time of my firing, but whatever.   My departure from the Office had nothing to do with me being a bad prosecutor.  It just had to do with my antagonism towards Pat Lykos.

Ironically, in retrospect, Lykos did a far better job as District Attorney than Kim Ogg ever has.  

2.  The Republican --  I guess this is a somewhat fair criticism if you go back in time to 2015.  Like most of my fellow former prosecutors, I did vote exclusively in Republican Primaries back in the day.  Although I was pretty liberal for a Republican, most Harris County elections were decided in the Republican Primary before 2008, and that's where I voted.  I wasn't ever a big GOP member.  Didn't go to meetings or try to be a Precinct Chair or anything like that.  If I had any remaining Republican ties, I can assure you that the Donald Trump Phenomenon stomped most of them out of me.  

3.  The Kim Ogg Hater --  Dane has to be pretty hard-pressed to argue that I was anti-Ogg from the beginning.  As noted above, I voted for her over Devon Anderson (who was a friend) because I believed in Ogg's platform and the direction Criminal Justice should follow in the future.  It isn't my fault that Ogg a) was no more of a progressive than Donald Trump, and b) is insane.   Although I have to admit that he's correct that I think very poorly of Ogg, that dislike has been earned by her actions in office.  It's not like she ran over my dog, or you know, fired me or anything.  

It's not personal.  Kim Ogg is just really terrible at being District Attorney and she embodies all of the negative traits of an intensely paranoid, vindictive, dumb, corrupt politician.  Other than that, I'm sure she's a swell person.

Dane Schiller knows all of these things are true, so it is rather disappointing to learn of my old "amigo" telling reporters all of these things about me.  

However, I'm far from being the only recipient of Dane's misinformation campaigns.  He's been very front and center in leading the charge on behalf of the D.A.'s Office in scapegoating Harris County District Court Judges for the rise in crime during the pandemic, as well.

In the above screenshots, Dane has taken to the Twitterverse to attack the judges and promote his employer's office, which is fine, even though it's just a tad outside of his job description and wholly inaccurate.  There's a fine line between Director of Communications for the District Attorney's Office and Propaganda Chief for Kim Ogg, I suppose, but there are some pretty stringent rules about taxpayer money going towards political campaigns.  Dane seems to operate in those blurred lines 24/7. 

One of the more amusing elements of Dane's "job description" is most certainly his use of social media.  My personal favorite has got to be this one, where he tries desperately to raise Kim Ogg's D.A.'s Office's Google Rating.

He also apparently went to the Don Hooper School of Media Relations, as illustrated by his comments in this Houston Chronicle story where he took issue with my criticism of the D.A.'s Office instituting an overtime program to evaluate misdemeanor cases rather than just giving prosecutors the authority to make offers in court (which is kind of the job they were hired to do, just FYI). (NOTE:  I actually thought that this response was Don Hooper at first, despite the good spelling.)

I guess if you can't make the reporters stop using me as a source of information, you can always take potshots in the comments.  And, no, I can't conclusively prove that"Dudegoggles" is Dane because I don't run the Chronicle website.  However, he writes just like Dane, shares the exact same messages that Dane is trying to communicate, has a lot of inside information about the District Attorney's Office and he shares the same favorite restaurant as Dane (see you around La Guadalupana, amigo).

On the Facebook comments to that same Chronicle story, a Facebook profile under the name of "Jake Mattius" took issue with my comments.

"Do better"?  That's your stunning comeback to my complaints?  That's really kicking some ass on the old debate stage there, buddy.

Draw your own conclusions about who Jake Mattius really is, but here's a shot of his Facebook profile.  Other than a deep love of Kim Ogg, there isn't really much to it.

All of this is pretty damn funny to me in the big scheme of things, but it really shouldn't be.  Dane Schiller has a job to do and that's to keep the general public informed about the Harris County District Attorney's Office.  Instead, he's become, well, just a shill for Kim Ogg.  Rather than address any of the points I've brought up when I've criticized the Office, he'd rather just take some rather chickenshit potshots behind the scenes.

C'mon, Dane.

Do better, Amigo.

Episode Seven: The Voters Awaken - A One Act -Sci-Fi Play

SCENE:  The Death Star orbits over Downtown Houston. [INTERIOR] The Imperial Council Chambers. EMPRESS OGG sits at the head of a long table ...