Yo, Janet Napolitano! Charles Goodson is still gunning for you. The Tempe resident and dyed-in-the-wool Confederate soldier is pressing on with his Recall Janet campaign, which must collect more than 300,000 votes by early next month to begin your ouster. The good news is . . . he doesn't care who you sleep with.
New Times: Why recall Janet Napolitano? What's she ever done to you?
Charles Goodson: To me personally, nothing. Except insult me. When she first became governor, her first action was to legislate the senior citizen prescription program.
NT: What's wrong with the Arizona Prescription Drug Discount Card program? It's kind of nice to offer old people a markdown on their drugs.
Goodson: But how she did it was wrong. The constitution of the state of Arizona is very specific. The governor cannot legislate through executive orders. That power alone rests with the Legislature. What she should have done is push it through the Legislature with strong recommendation. Then when it crosses her desk, she could sign it into law. What she did was jump the legislative process.
NT: How'd she get away with that?
Goodson: She knows how to get around the law. She was attorney general, remember.
NT: Are you suggesting that our governor is bending the law?
Goodson: She's bending and in some cases breaking the law.
NT: So our governor is a criminal.
Goodson: She is a criminal. That's the difference between her and Gray Davis. Davis was stupid, inept and incompetent. He listened to bad advice. Our governor is criminal. Look at how the Piestewa Peak name change came about. Through extortion. If you or I tried to do something like that -- to try to force someone to do something through threats to their job -- we'd be sitting in a jail cell.
NT: Who's threatening whom?
Goodson: [Boards and Commissions deputy chief of staff Mario] Diaz threatened the board that does the renaming. The board members are all employees of the government, and their jobs were threatened by Diaz, then the governor. She told them, "If you don't do what I want, update your résumé." I'm paraphrasing, but that's what she was saying. That's extortion!
NT: Were you present when she said this?
Goodson: Not in person. I heard it over the radio and on TV. You had board members who actually resigned over this, because they were afraid if they didn't vote the way she wanted, they would be fired. She is clearly not a nice person.
NT: And she's a liberal, which I know bothers you.
Goodson: Well, there are some liberals I like. The problem with Napolitano's liberalism is it denies freedom to others. She wants control, which denies the process that's been set in stone. The Legislature makes the law; the executive department approves or vetoes the law and acts as chief representative of the state. The judicial department interprets the law, and also handles . . .
NT: Is there going to be a test on all this?
Goodson: The governor has blurred the lines. She's trying to get all power given to her. That's a dictatorship. She's cowed the Legislature into a corner. She tells [them], "If you don't go with me, I'll never sign any of your bills." One legislator here in the Valley said the governor sent her memos saying, "If you don't approve whatever I want, your bills will never get off the floor."
NT: The big meanie! Okay, so you need 306,528 valid signatures by January 8 to force Napolitano to defend her job. How's it going?
Goodson: It's going remarkably well. When people find out what she's doing, they're saying, "Where's the petition? I wanna sign."
NT: But how many signatures do you have?
Goodson: The last count was in October, and we had a little more than 50,000. But the number changes every day.
NT: You haven't counted since October?
Goodson: I told [petitioners], "Just keep a rough count of what you have, and when it's time, I'll call for the petitions and we'll do an actual count then."
NT: I understand your political awakening came in rehab.
Goodson: Yes, I was in rehab for alcohol abuse. Before that time, my political philosophy was, "Whoever has the most booze gets my vote." In 1986 [actually 1988], Dukakis was running for president. I think that's when it was; those dates are kind of blurry because I was drunk 98 percent of the time. I was asked to come to one of his rallies, and I said, "Are you gonna serve alcohol?" I was registered as a Democrat at the time. The Republicans called and asked me to come to their rally. I said, "Are you gonna have booze? I'll be there."
NT: What are your politics now?
Goodson: Sober and conservative. I don't drink anymore, so I don't care who has the best booze.
NT: Let's get back to Janet. She's done an awful lot for forest health management with her Conference on Forest Health.
Goodson: Oh, right. Please!
NT: You like trees, don't you?
Goodson: Yeah, as long as they can be made into furniture. No, seriously, I love trees. But the thing is she only went along with the [forest fire] issue after the president signed the bill into law. She has forest advisers who've been telling her, "We have to thin the forest." But you can't prevent forest fires. They're part of nature.
NT: So Janet has a Smokey Bear complex. I'm guessing you don't like the way she handled the gas crisis.
Goodson: Well, that was stupid. You're gonna hear a lot of negative things about the governor today, by the way.
NT: Well, I didn't come here to talk about your taste in millinery.
Goodson: The way the governor handled the gas crisis was stupid. She knew it was going to happen beforehand. Kinder Morgan came to her to ask her to pave the way for an easier variance, because they knew something was going to happen. She told them to go get bent; she had better things to do with her time. She could have had a [gasoline] delivery system set up in advance to ease the burden. She could have used railroad gasoline tanks to go up to Tucson to get gas. She has that authority. Instead, she went to a governor's meeting, and it wasn't until we had a gas crisis that she came back. She made it worse by saying, "This is not a crisis."
NT: You're a member of the National Southern Party. You're a Confederate!
Goodson: I'm the chairman of the Southern Party of the Southwest.
NT: Uh, didn't the Confederacy surrender?
Goodson: Not the government. The army surrendered.
NT: The Southern Party is often accused of being racist.
Goodson: Only by stupid, idiot liberals. They're stupid. Quote me! The NAACP, the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center with that pervert Morris Dees, are stupid. They don't have a brain between them. If they did, they smoked it all away. There's more racism and blood attached to the American flag than there could ever be with the Confederate flag.
NT: Are there a lot of local Confederates?
Goodson: Well, before the recall we had about 22. That included in New Mexico. I mandated that the party not be involved in the recall, because it's an Arizona issue, and our membership spans New Mexico. And they said, "If the party can't be involved [in the recall], then we don't want to be involved at all." Now we're down to about eight members.
NT: That many. Wow.
Goodson: One member, his name is Bill, wants to come back. Nicest guy, but his face looks like it was run through a meat grinder. I said, "Bill, the only thing you people in New Mexico could do on the recall is stand around and look pretty. And I know your wife thinks you're gorgeous, but I've got news for you: You are ugly. You would make my supporters run away in sheer terror!"
NT: You're mean, Charles. I think recalling the governor is sort of nasty. How would it be if someone were trying to take away your job?
Goodson: I lost my job over this. I was a contract agent for AmeriPlan Health Care. They learned about this [recall campaign], and . . . I got a letter from AmeriPlan saying, "We're not political. You either stop this recall campaign or . . ." I told them, "If that's the price I have to pay to get this governor out, then I'll see you later."
NT: Your Web site refers to you as "Arizona's own savior." Maybe you should run for office.
Goodson: I ran for mayor of Tempe three times. I've actually been kind of playing with the idea of running for state legislator. Running for governor? I'm not going to say it's impossible.
NT: What does Janet say about all this?
Goodson: Nothing. She has her flunkies say, "It's not going to go anywhere. He has as much chance of recalling Janet as reestablishing the Confederacy." Anyway, if the Confederacy were reestablished, I would suggest that Arizona secede, form our own nation, and become a true republic.
NT: Good luck convincing anyone of that.
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Goodson: It's a big "if." I want to return Arizona to its conservative past, where the people are in charge. Right now, with Janet Napolitano in office, you have the rule of the minority over the majority. You think we have freedom right now?
NT: Sometimes. Hey, how come everyone wants to know if Janet's a lesbian?
Goodson: I don't know. I tell everyone, "Who you go to bed with is your business." Because you're doing it on your own time. What Napolitano does while she's sitting in the governor's seat is my business. I'm paying her salary. I want to know what's going on.