Soccer fans wait outside the Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium in Graz, Austria, in this file photo taken Sunday, May 9, 2004. Schwarzenegger has told officials in his Austrian hometown to remove his name from the sports stadium and to stop using his name to promote the city. The governor’s move comes 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.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cut his honorary ties to his hometown in Austria on Monday after officials in Graz criticized him for denying clemency to a death row inmate.
Schwarzenegger demanded that Graz stop using his name on a sports stadium and in promotions and returned a “ring of honor” he had been awarded by city officials in 1999, saying politicians in his hometown appeared to have rejected him.
A petition drive had been launched in Graz to have the town rename a stadium that has been named after Schwarzenegger because the Austrian-born governor allowed the execution of death-row inmate Stanley Tookie Williams this month.
Williams, an ex-leader of the Crips gang who supporters said had redeemed himself by campaigning against gang violence, was executed by lethal injection on December 13 after Schwarzenegger and the courts rejected all of his appeals.
The city council of Graz had been due to rename the local stadium on January 19, according to Schwarzenegger’s letter to Graz Mayor Siegfried Nagl.
Flap thought the California Governor was more MATURE than this childish stunt. If they wanted to remove his name then so be it.
The letter translated from the German:
Following is the text of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s letter to the mayor of his hometown. The governor wrote it in German; it was translated by a press aide.
December 19, 2005
Mr. Siegfried Nagl
Mayor, City of Graz
Dear Mister Mayor,
As you know, I was always proud to hail from Graz and my pride in my hometown continues. To me, Graz will forever be the place that nurtured me in my youth.
When I was asked in 1997 to give the former Stadium Liebenau my name, I agreed for several reasons. Firstly, I trained there as a young man. Secondly, I had hoped that my international name recognition as an athlete and actor would in turn possibly make Graz more famous and increase its tourism business. Thirdly, requests by close friends in Graz moved me to accept the honor. And fourth, I was naturally proud to be immortalized in this way by my hometown.
I have now heard that the Graz City Council appears poised to decide to rename the stadium on January 19th, 2006. The reason for this action is apparently a decision I reached as Governor of California. I rejected the clemency plea of a rightfully condemned four-time murderer after thorough review and as a result, he was executed according to the laws of this state.
In all likelihood, during my term as Governor I will have to make similar and equally difficult decisions. 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. You will receive related correspondence from my legal counsel shortly. I expect the lettering to be removed by the end of 2005, and in the future, the use of my name to advertise or promote the city of Graz in any way is no longer allowed.
I have also learned that a proposal has been proffered to rescind from me the city’s ring of honor. It was a beautiful day in 1999 when I received the ring at City Hall and I assumed at the time that it would be 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.
In conclusion, I would like to once more expressly emphasize that I will remain with all my heart a Grazer, a Steierer and an Austrian. I look forward to visiting Graz again as soon as time allows.
With best wishes,
Arnold Schwarzenegger is looking like a one term Governor every day.
Will he even bother to run for re-election?
The California Republican Party had better be recruiting some alternate candidates.