The mayor of Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's home town in Austria lashed out at the governor's critics on Tuesday, a day after Schwarzenegger severed ties with his birthplace in a dispute over his support of the death penalty for murder.
Siegfried Nagl, mayor of the southern city of Graz, accused the Social Democrats, Greens and others who have opposed Schwarzenegger of orchestrating an "embarrassing farce" and insisted that most locals were proud of Schwarzenegger.
On Monday, Schwarzenegger told Graz officials to remove his name from a soccer stadium and to stop using it to promote the city, and he said he was returning a ring of honour that Graz gave him in 1999.
Schwarzenegger was reacting to harsh criticism in his homeland of his refusal to grant clemency to convicted murderers awaiting execution on California's death row.
Capital punishment is illegal in Europe, and last week's execution of multi-murderer Stanley Tookie Williams had prompted some Austrians to launch a petition drive to rename Graz's Schwarzenegger Stadium.
Nagl told the Austria Press Agency he at least wanted to prevent Schwarzenegger from returning the ring.
He said he would send the governor a letter asking him to reconsider and reassuring him that he remains beloved in Graz.
In a letter to the mayor, Mr Schwarzenegger said he had decided to spare the Graz city council "further concern" should he be forced to make other clemency decisions while governor. He faces another such decision regarding an inmate scheduled to be executed on January 17.
Graz's Liebenauer Stadium had been renamed for the former Hollywood star in 1997.
The proposal to rename the stadium is supported by the Greens and the Social Democrats, giving it majority backing on the council.
Mr Schwarzenegger's letter also said he would no longer permit the use of his name "to advertise or promote the city of Graz in any way" and he would return the city's "ring of honour".
The ring was given to him in a ceremony in Graz in 1999. At the time, he said he considered it "a token of sincere friendship between my home town 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," he wrote.