By Wendy Leung Staff Writer
Created: 05/19/2011 05:30:15 PM PDT

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – Not wanting to turn away future funds for city projects, the City Council on Wednesday decided to maintain its naming rights policy and not add restrictions that would prohibit naming public facilities after politicians.

Bill Alexander was the lone councilman who was uncomfortable about keeping the policy, saying it was “inappropriate” to name parks, libraries and other buildings after public officials.

“The process of any politician being able to take monies gathered from public funds and using them to coerce the naming of any place is not a good thing to do. It just shouldn’t occur,” Alexander said. “I think it’s nice that we don’t have a Schwarzenegger park because that could be a problem.”

Although not one council member brought up Paul Biane’s name during the 25-minute conversation, it was clear the item was placed on the agenda following Biane’s arrest.

Biane, a former San Bernardino County supervisor and councilman of this city, was arrested last week and faces multiple felony charges for his alleged role in a 2006 bribery scheme. Biane, who has since been released from jail, is accused of conspiracy, bribery, misappropriation of public funds and other charges linked to the controversial $102 million settlement over the Upland Colonies project, which he voted for as supervisor.

The city’s newest library at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center is named after Biane. As supervisor, Biane steered a total of $1 million of county funds to the library.

On Aug. 16, 2006, three days before the library opened, the City Council – which consisted of Alexander, Diane Williams, Rex Gutierrez, Sam Spagnolo and Dennis Michael – unanimously passed a policy that would allow donors at the $1 million level to have naming rights, thus paving the way for the Paul A. Biane Library.

At Wednesday’s meeting, only one speaker, Robert Hufnagel, addressed the council about the library.

“Mr. Biane, innocent or not, is not the issue,” Hufnagel said. “His actions have cast a doubt, shame, a dark cloud.”

Hufnagel said the city should rename the library and suggested the name Ronnie Pallares, the young Rancho Cucamonga soldier who died last year in Afghanistan.

“When I walk my kids in the library, imagine the comparison,” Hufnagel said. “Here’s somebody who has been indicted or here’s somebody who has died for our freedom. Which one is going to send a better message of what we stand for in the community?”

The council did not address the renaming of the library. Instead, the council asked staff members to “tighten the language” of its policy and include provisions that would allow the city to rename facilities with public officials’ namesakes should the name become inappropriate.

Currently the council has the right to rename facilities named after politicians. But the council hopes a revised naming rights policy would spell out the city’s rights more clearly.

“I do like the policy that should anything happen in the future, then that name be removed immediately,” Williams said. “If it involves skullduggery, then shame on them and the name will be ripped off. But I’m not going to stop begging for money.”

Councilman Spagnolo said he doesn’t want the city to be limited while it raises money for projects.

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