Bye-Bye, Guv?

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."

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela