Terry Goddard is playing his same old dodge. The perennial candidate for office is attempting to slouch his way to victory in the Democratic primary for governor.
Desperately, Goddard hopes voters won't recognize him as the same candidate who ran such a miserable campaign in the last election, the one he lost to flawed real estate operator J. Fife Symington III in the year of the Keating scandals.
Goddard has spent the entire campaign ducking his two opponents, Paul Johnson and Eddie Basha. Goddard particularly fears Johnson. Goddard realizes Johnson is exactly the kind of candidate who could bring him down.
Goddard was born rich and was educated in leisurely fashion at Harvard. He is the one candidate of whom it can be said that he never worked a real job even a single day in his life.
Johnson is one of nine children of a construction worker. He worked his way through school, wearing clothes passed down by his brothers. Johnson not only did not attend Harvard, but finished his credits for a college degree here in Phoenix while serving as the youngest mayor in the city's history.
There are five candidates in the race for governor on both the Republican and Democratic sides. Johnson is the only one who is not a millionaire. When this race is over, the rest will go back to counting their bond coupons. If Johnson loses, he will go back to work.
Goddard and Johnson go back a number of years together, having served on the city council at the same time.
Johnson has the advantage of understanding that so much about Goddard is self-perpetuated myth and just plain phony faade. And Johnson is not afraid to call Goddard's bluff. That is why Goddard avoids him at all costs.
A crucial thing voters forget at their peril is that Goddard has established an unsavory but definitive pattern all through his political career.
Goddard has always demonstrated cowardice in the tight spots. He has never had the political backbone to face things through. He has always attempted to lie his way out of difficult situations.
And there is a lot Goddard has to lie about and hide. He has always masqueraded as a reformer, but always found convenient ways to do favors for his political contributors.
First of all, there is Bob Gosnell. Terry Goddard promised to protect Phoenix from rapacious developers just like Gosnell who wanted to build hotels and golf courses on the mountainside.
In 1985, when Goddard was mayor, he even proposed an amendment to the city's charter to protect the Phoenix Mountains Preserve from developers.
To punctuate his devotion to the average citizen, Goddard even wrote a memo to the city council:
"We believe the council should give serious consideration to placing before the voters an amendment which would prohibit the sale of mountain-preserve land without a vote of Phoenix citizens." Wonderful.
Phoenix voters applauded. They then voted by an overwhelming margin to prevent developers from encroaching on the mountains.
After the election, Goddard turned around and used a loophole in the proposition to trade 29 acres of city-owned land on the mountain to Gosnell so he could build a golf course there. Why not? Gosnell was a big contributor and would continue to be so for elections to come. To Goddard, he was more important than the ordinary voters.
Goddard defended Gosnell's land grab, saying the golf course was actually a public use. It could be construed as "public," one supposes, if you had the $75 greens fees to play the course.
Another who ranks high as a Goddard insider was R. Neil Irwin. Irwin was one of Goddard's chief financial advisers in his campaign for mayor. Later, he was the chairman of the advisory group that marketed the 81-acre city-owned commercial project around Sky Harbor.
Irwin became the ultimate insider and profiteer. Later he turned up as a partner in a California group awarded exclusive rights to the $100 million development.
Irwin, who apparently has a sense of humor, was quoted as saying of his sudden financial good fortune: "The future belongs to the well-connected." Another of Goddard's loyal fund raisers and insiders is Herman Chanen, who owns Chanen Construction Company.
Is it any surprise that when Phoenix, under Goddard's leadership as mayor, decided to build a multimillion-dollar city hall, the lucrative contract for constructing it went to Chanen Construction Company?
Everyone who lived in Phoenix during the years of the infamous Grand Prix race, held downtown the first year in the heat of summer, understands how out of touch Goddard was with ordinary people. This was, in fact, when they began calling him "the doofus mayor." Under Goddard's leadership, Phoenix agreed to spend $8 million over a five-year period for the race. Goddard insisted the Grand Prix gave Phoenix international exposure. Everyone in town hated the race and was happy when the race promoters finally bolted from town without fulfilling their end of the contract.
When Goddard talks about his glory days as mayor, he neglects to mention how the $8 million foolishly squandered on the Grand Prix could have been used to hire more police officers, more child-abuse officers and start more drug-education programs in city schools.
Perhaps nothing in Goddard's career sums him up better than his actions in the matter of Charles Keating during Goddard's initial campaign for mayor.
Goddard was running against Pete Dunn and, at the climax of the race, Terry opted to name the Republican power brokers who were aligned against him.
He accused Dunn of being in the pocket of Keating because he had accepted $20,000 in contributions from Keating and his business associates.
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Here's what happened next.
Keating called his own press conference and called Goddard a hypocrite. He revealed Goddard had gone to Senator Dennis DeConcini and begged the senator to intercede with Keating for him.
Upon DeConcini's request, Keating had agreed to raise $20,000 for Goddard, too.
But typical of the way Goddard operates, Keating's money was to be timed so that it was contributed too late to be included in the financial reports.
If Keating had not blown the whistle, Goddard would have accepted the $20,000 contribution. And no one would have ever known.
Goddard has established one thing about himself during his time in public life. He is a liar and a hypocrite.