Skip to comments.Schwarzenegger tells hometown to remove his name from stadium
Posted on 12/19/2005 1:52:29 PM PST by calcowgirl
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday told officials in his hometown in Austria to remove his name from a sports stadium and stop using his name to promote the city.
The governor's request came after politicians in Graz began a petition drive to rename the stadium, reacting to Schwarzenegger's decision last week to deny clemency to condemned inmate Stanley Tookie Williams. Opposition to the death penalty is strong in Austria.
In a letter that began "Dear Mister Mayor," Schwarzenegger said he decided to spare the Graz city council "further concern" should he be forced to make other clemency decisions while serving as California's governor. He faces another such decision regarding a 75-year-old inmate scheduled to be executed Jan. 17.
"In all likelihood, during my term as governor, I will have to make similar and equally difficult decisions," Schwarzenegger said in the letter. "In order to spare the responsible politicians of the city of Graz further concern, I withdraw from them as of this day the right to use my name in association with the Liebenauer Stadium."
The stadium had been renamed for the former Hollywood star in 1997. He said he wanted the lettering removed by year's end.
Schwarzenegger initially declined to respond to the political backlash after he denied clemency for Williams, the co-founder of the Crips gang who was convicted of four 1979 murders. Williams was executed shortly after midnight Dec. 13.
The Graz city council was expected to take up the matter on Jan. 19. The proposal to rename the stadium had support from the Greens party and the Social Democrats, giving it majority backing.
Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Margita Thompson said the letter was faxed to Graz city hall on Monday.
In it, Schwarzenegger also said he would no longer permit the use of his name "to advertise or promote the city of Graz in any way" and would return the city's "ring of honor."
The ring was given to him in a ceremony in Graz in 1999. At the time, Schwarzenegger said he considered it "a token of sincere friendship between my hometown and me.
"Since, however, the official Graz appears to no longer accept me as one of their own, this ring has lost its meaning and value to me. It is already in the mail," the governor wrote.
The letter notes that city officials will receive a follow-up letter from Schwarzenegger's attorney.
Despite the dispute with Graz officials, Schwarzenegger said he "will remain with all my heart a Grazer, a Steierer and an Austrian."
Steier is the state that includes Graz.
For once I'm pleased and impressed with the governator.
Ouch. Way to go, Arnie!
This is good. It deprives the socialist and green to make it an issue in any election.
That'll leave a mark.
Too bad opposition to murder wasn't strong in Austria in the 1940's.
Damn. Hasta la vista, Graz.
Talk about a preemptive strike! Nicely done Governor.
Going to be renamed "Tolerant, But Dead" Stadium.
The city of GRAZ just got PWN3D by the Governator....
It WILL leave a mark. A big mark. After they remove the letters.
Schwarzenegger is a long name. tee hee
This outrage comes from a country that still has people alive who worked at Mauthausen, the worst concentration camp of them all. They specialized in working Jews (and even some captured US airmen) to death within a matter of days at a stone quarry.
That'll leave a mark. Good call, Governor.
Ha Ha Ha ...
Arnold does a twofer...nixing tookie and nixing the graz fools. Right on Ahhnold!
I can hear his voice in my head as read that! Hilarious!
I have been highly critical of the Governator when he has deserved it. I didn't vote for him and may not in the future. Having said that, this is one of the best moves I've ever seen a politician or office-holder make. It is bold and puts him on offense rather than on defense. It tells me that he is truly an American and is more concerned about California and its citizens than what his former home country thinks. Of course, they can't vote for him here, anyway, but this is a prime example of what GOP pols should do when put on the defensive. GO ON OFFENSE. I don't know who's idea this was. Even if it was Gray Davis' ex-chief of staff who came up with it, it's pure brilliance.
I've been to Mauthausen. It is one uncomfortable place to be.
Many Russians were also killed there.
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