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Friday, December 23, 2005

Part Two - Doctor Oba Saint Stanley Tookie Williams Stadium, Here We Come 

The saga continues:

The mayor of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Austrian hometown on Tuesday begged the California governor to reconsider his decision to cut ties to the city after locals assailed him for his death penalty stance.

Siegfried Nagl, mayor of the southern city of Graz, said he wrote Schwarzenegger pleading with him not to return a ring of honor bestowed on him by officials in his birthplace in 1999 and reassuring him that most residents still admire him.

"I hope that very soon we'll hear you say, 'I'll be back,'" Nagl told the actor-turned-politician, one of Austria's most famous sons.

On Monday, Schwarzenegger caused a stir by turning the tables on Austrians who criticized the governor's refusal to block the executions of convicted killers. He sent Graz officials a letter asking them to remove his name from a soccer stadium and stop using it to promote the city, and said he was giving back the ring because it "has lost its meaning and value to me."...

Nagl told Austrian television he hoped to persuade Schwarzenegger. At a minimum, he said, he hoped to persuade Schwarzenegger to keep the ring - though he conceded he did not expect to succeed....

Kurt Flecker, a local official with the opposition Social Democrats, said Schwarzenegger damaged his own image - not Graz's - by refusing to spare Williams' life. There is no point, he said, in "glorifying anyone who supports the death penalty."

Walter Ferk, the deputy mayor of Graz, said Schwarzenegger's decision to allow executions to go forward makes him "an unsuitable godfather for a public building."

But Hermann Schuetzenhoefer, a tourism adviser in the province of Styria where Graz is located, said Tuesday he also wrote a letter to Schwarzenegger expressing regret "that some politicians who proudly bore your name a few years ago are dragging it through the dirt now."

I don't see why the tourism adviser is so upset. If they rename the stadium after Doctor Oba Saint Stanley Tookie Williams, they will attract huge new crowds of tourists. Specifically, the city will be a magnet for the 150,000 people who were saved from gang life by the Doctor Oba Saint.

I'm not sure what type of welcome they'll receive, however:

Graz, its politicians proclaimed proudly, is the “first human rights city in Europe”. It is not quite clear what that means. According to the Frankfurter Rundschau, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal Europe, the local discos and bars routinely reject dark-skinned customers....

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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