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Thursday, November 30, 2006

I'd like to buy a room for $250, Pat 

The latest from David Allen:

Naming the Ontario Library children's room after writer Beverly Cleary, the most famous person to ever live in Ontario, was an idea floated in this space earlier this year.
Cleary worked at the library for a year in the 1930s and decided to become a writer based on success at Chaffey Junior College, in the days when it shared an Ontario campus with Chaffey High. So why not honor her?

Two residents with a connection to Cleary proposed the renaming to the Library Board, which posted a notice so anyone with an objection could object. When no one did, the change was recommended to the City Council.

On Tuesday, the matter was placed on the council's consent calendar, reserved for items believed to be a slam-dunk.

Well, the idea of a Beverly Cleary Children's Room certainly did get a unanimous vote.

In opposition.

"While I certainly agree with all the great things that were said about Miss Cleary," Councilman Alan Wapner began, he felt that "before we start naming rooms, that we have a policy on naming rooms."

He asked city officials to research options for how to name facilities, "including the options for" - uh-oh - "maybe having naming rights purchased by companies or individuals."...

By the way, it's been two years to the month that the council deservedly named the library's history room after former mayor Bob Ellingwood - with no policy discussed before or since....

I approached Wapner for conversation.

"I'm not a Cleary basher!" Wapner announced with a smile. "I read her books. I'm just all about policy."

He added: "The only reason this came up is because you wrote about it in your column."

He says that like it's a bad thing.

I asked for his thoughts on naming the children's room for Cleary.

"To be honest, I don't think she made enough of a contribution to the city of Ontario compared to other people," Wapner said.

"My understanding is she lived in the city a short time and worked at the library," he said. "That in itself doesn't merit having a room named for her."...

Maybe next year Ontario can take a fresh look at honoring Cleary. April 12 will be the Carmel resident's 91st birthday, which could be a nice tie-in.

But based on Tuesday's mention of naming rights, I do have one worry.

What if the City Council agrees to a Beverly Cleary Children's Room - but asks her to pay for the privilege?

We have to face the fact that, even though Paul Vincent Avila is not on the City Countil, said Council is not always blessed with brains. So they may go the naming route.

Look forward to the Coca Cola Room, or the Nike Room, or the Terminator IV Room, in your local library some time soon.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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