This is a letter that I’m sending off today to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
April 26, 2010
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Governor -
I watched this morning as you extolled the successful results of the cause that you and other celebrities championed to save the Hollywood sign. You showed the possibility that a grassroots campaign, once recognized by the public and adopted by the industry, can have a positive effect.
My reaction to your words, "When I heard that it was 130 acres around the Hollywood sign needed to be protected, I did what the Terminator was supposed to do, which is to jump into action," was bittersweet. The iconic persona that you have crafted over the years, as exciting as it is, is not being used to its full potential — that is, saving lives of the motion picture elderly who have done the heavy lifting that benefited "a young bodybuilder in Austria" who found fame and fortune.
As an admirer — someone who smoked a number of cigars at Schatzi over the years, was involved in the career of Rachel McLish who went on to win the first Ms. Olympia, and shared some jokes in your company with the great Christian Janitsch — I feel that whatever connection might be hanging out there can enable the transmission of this plea for help.
As you know, the part of the Motion Picture Home that services the needs and provides 24-hour skilled nursing care to the most handicapped and elderly residents is in jeopardy. Please don’t believe that it is for want of money. This isn’t about raising funds — money is not the issue. The issue is raising consciousness while holding true to the promise that Charlie Chaplin inscribed: "We Take Care of Our Own."
You may also know that the facility is in lockdown. The CEO has fled, the new regime has not offered any glimmer of hope, even though the families have exerted pressure that has resulted in the facility still being open. The closed doors are locked and stand mute.
This is the part where the Terminator busts through the doors that are closed. Splinters of wood, steel and glass rain down on the personification of justice, Hollywood style. This is where the hero comes in, and we need one, now. The scene is set for a typical Hollywood ending, one where the basic principles of humanity are protected, the innocent and meek are shielded, and the rights of the elderly are returned.
Cue the sunset.
There is a photo of actor John Schneider, on his knees in front of an elderly Motion Picture Home resident as he tenderly helps to find the right pair of sneakers that fit. This is the picture that I would like to implant into the brain of every studio head, actor and politician. This is the spirit of the industry that needs to be championed.
Please reach out to us and get involved. This is your community, your industry, your elders — all whose sweat nurtured the welcome that beckoned and inspired a young bodybuilder from Austria who has come so far.
Sincerely, Richard Stellar, member, Saving the Lives of Our Own