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Almost two months ago, George Chasse, the new face in Phoenix politics, sat down with a well-known Valley leader and discussed City Hall. Chasse explained that he hoped to run against incumbent Phoenix Mayor Terry Goddard.
Chasse's confidant was aware that Mayor Goddard had stubbed his toe on several issues: ValTrans, the north-side amphitheatre, the beautification of Central Avenue, the new Phoenix Suns arena and the Formula One Grand Prix race downtown.
But Chasse wasn't interested in talking about issues. Chasse wanted to discuss Mayor Goddard's "homosexual lifestyle."
Chasse said there were pictures.
We put him under surveillance. People followed him around. We got it on him and we're going to use it, claimed Chasse.
We followed him at night to his house and we took pictures.
When questioned as to what Terry Goddard's personal life had to do with being mayor, Chasse allegedly responded, "I don't like queers, do you? It isn't fair for the rest of us to be subject to that sort of person being leader."
You must grasp that George Chasse is not part of the lunatic fringe in Arizona.
As chairman of Voters Against Senseless Transit (VAST), Chasse hung the biggest defeat of Goddard's career upon the popular mayor when voters rejected the $10.4 billion mass-transit proposal on March 28.
Today, just three months later, the man is a force to be reckoned with.
Ultimately, Chasse decided not to tackle Goddard directly. Yet he will still get his two cents into the race.
Former Republican state chairman Tom Pappas said that although Chasse is not part of the inner sanctum, he is part of "a larger circle of advisers" who are close to GOP hopeful Burt Kruglick.
Last Thursday Kruglick, the leader of Arizona's Republicans, announced that he would challenge Goddard in the October mayoral election.
Kruglick has already consulted with Lee Atwater, the McCarthy chain saw of the Republican party who is leading the GOP charge to wrest control of America's city halls from Democrats.
President George Bush's constellation consists of a thousand points of light and one Death Star, Lee Atwater. White fear of black criminals was forever linked to convict Willie Horton and Michael Dukakis by Atwater during the presidential election.
Recently, Atwater's office leveled a thinly veiled accusation of homosexuality at the new Democratic leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, Thomas Foley. Atwater's innuendo was so repugnant that even President Bush was embarrassed to the point that he repudiated the attack.
Now Atwater is savaging New York Mayor Ed Koch, an official who for years has endured snide comments about his bachelorhood.
Insiders close to the mayor fear that Goddard is next in line to be smeared.
This is not groundless paranoia. Although the Goddard forces are unaware of it, there was a conversation last week which illuminated the ugliness that passes for politics in Arizona.
The night before Kruglick's press conference to announce for mayor, Chasse again told his friend that Goddard's personal life would become a campaign issue.
"Burt won't ever use it directly," said Chasse, "but it will come out."
Well, of course. Isn't that the way this poisonous swill is always passed for public consumption? The benefactors of the Goddard-in-spandex rumor won't stand on their hind legs and make the charge. They will find some religious nutbasket or a sign-carrying malcontent to heave the cobblestone.
Then we will hear that they don't like to see this sort of campaign, that they are above this sort of campaign, and all the while they refuse to drive out the mouthfoamers from their midst.
Do not expect the accusations of homosexuality to surface until the final days of the election. That way a flustered Goddard will not have time to respond.
Let us have no part of this smarmy bargain.
This cannot fester until the last second. Stand up, now, and tell us your concern about Terry Goddard.
If they mean to kick in that crystal window with their jackboot, let them do it in the full glare of the morning light instead of the evening shadows.
If a man's private life is not just that, private, then let those of you who are obsessed with sex step forward. Let us examine this "evidence." What do your "pictures" have to do with City Hall? Let us see what you have to say. Let us see who you are.
When reached by phone, George Chasse claimed he had no idea, none whatsoever, regarding allegations over the mayor's private life. Chasse, in fact, expressed surprise after being informed that Goddard's personal habits threatened to become a campaign issue.
"I didn't know that," said Chasse. "This is the first time I've heard of it."
When pressured, however, Chasse backpedaled and then contradicted himself.
"I know some people who've said they got material on the mayor," explained Chasse. "They told me, when I asked what it was, they said, `You'll soon find out.'"
Chasse would not be more specific.
"I really don't have anything to do with it," he added. "That's not my ball game. And if I had it, I wouldn't release it."