Dear Gov. Schwarzenegger: How low can you go?

October 07, 2005|By: Michael Miller

Rene Lyons Powers won't be able to fulfill her dream this fall of

dunking Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a tank of water. The president

of Newport Elementary School's Parent Teacher Assn. wrote the

governor's office last month asking him to sit on a dunk tank at the

school's fall fundraiser -- only to be dissuaded from it by the state

PTA's insurance company, which advised her against the tank for

safety reasons.


However, Powers, who counts herself an opponent of

Schwarzenegger's policies and a fan of his movies, has a backup plan.

With the Fall Fair approaching -- it's on Oct. 29 -- the PTA

president has invited Schwarzenegger to join a limbo contest to help

raise funds for the school.

"I definitely think he'd be more willing to participate if we did

something on that end," Powers said. "I bet his security team would

be much happier not having him in a dunk tank. Trying to keep track

of someone in a dunk tank is probably harder than keeping track of

him under a limbo stick."

Powers, in the letter sent to the governor's office last week,

invited Schwarzenegger to join in the contest so the PTA could sell

tickets to limbo with the governor. At the same time, she urged him

to attend the event as a way of bettering relations with local


"What a great way to show some good support for us, in a time when

so many feel there is little," Powers wrote in the letter. "We

respectfully agree to disagree with your initiatives that take away

from our schools and teachers, therefore affecting our children."

Newport Elementary's Fall Fair is the school's largest annual

fundraiser, with Newport Beach police, firefighters and lifeguards

joining the celebration on the beach. The event features music, food

and competitions to raise funds for the PTA. However, those in the

Newport Elementary community, including Powers, agree that the

chances of a Schwarzenegger visit are slim.

"We've reached out to even the White House for our Proud to be an

American Day that we've had on our campus before," said Gary Jabara,

president of the Newport Elementary Foundation. "We've contacted ...

[former Rep. Chris] Cox's office and those kind of folks.

Unfortunately, we're a small school on the beach and these are very

busy people."

In case the Schwarzenegger invitation came to naught, Powers had a

backup plan: shortly after messaging the governor's office, she

e-mailed comedian Ellen DeGeneres to ask her to visit Newport

Elementary in Schwarzenegger's place, sitting over the dunk tank in a

rubber Arnold mask.

In the end, though, state guidelines negated the idea altogether.

Sandy Fridwall, an account manager for the insurance company

Armstrong & Robitaille, said the state PTA had banned, for safety

reasons, dunk tanks, bounce houses and other activities for the last

10 years.

Undaunted, Powers came up with the limbo competition. With the PTA

still awaiting a response from the governor's office, however, Fall

Fair participants are skeptical about the odds.

"I'm sure if the governor makes it, it will be a very interesting

afternoon," said Sgt. Bill Hartford of the Newport Beach Police

Department. "We'll look forward to seeing him there."

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