Councilor Alfred E. Vellucci made by far the most noise yesterday at a City Council meeting where several Councilors tried to assert a monopoly ownership of the voice of the people Cambridge. It was the second to last meeting before the election next Tuesday.
In a performance certain to polarize the electorate sharply into friendly and enemy camps, Vellucci successfully spearheaded a hasty campaign to increase the size of the police and fire departments by 20 men each. He also delivered the strongest anti-Harvard harangue of this election year.
Vellucci and Councilor Walter J. Sullivan first dredged up the old issue of expanding the two departments and forced it through, despite the cautioning of Councilor Joseph A. DeGuglielmo. Warning against hasty treatment of an important subject for purposes of blatant electioneering, DeGuglielmo declared, "I think on a matter as serious as this we ought to have the advice of the police and fire chiefs. After I hear them, I shall be happy to vote."
Sullivan evidenced the urgency with which he wanted a vote on the motion. "I think it's a waste of time to have either of them over here. You saw the chief today." (Police Chief Daniel J. Brennan testified earlier at a committee on Ordinances meeting.) "He couldn't give us an answer on anything."
"We deserve to have protection both on the street and in the fire department," Sullivan said.
Councilor Andrew T. Trodden added, "This is a matter that transcends politics. I don't think there should be political football on the eve of an election." He pointed out that the Council should pass the motion immediately "for the safety of the city."
Although DeGuglielmo cited the Finance Act, according to whose lame duck provision the Council cannot create city city officers during an election or end-of-the-year period, the Sullivan-Vellucci order passed.
Sullivan's next motion passed without debate. It was an order requesting the Housing Authority to consider the construction of fallout shelters around all Cambridge housing projects.
Vellucci Challenges Pusey
Then Vellucci lit out against Harvard. He put through a resolution asking President Pusey to appear before the Council with Harvard's "master" development plan.
Opposing a possible sale of the city's Corporal Burns playground to the University, he assailed the "gigantic land grab in Cambridge" and proposed a bill for the state legislature that would prevent Harvard from "grabbing" any more taxable land.
On Memorial Drive below Dunster House, the playground had been the object of talks between City and University officials last year. If the city had sold the playground, it probably would have received in return some University land further down the River.
Although Mayor Edward A. Crane '33 informed him of Pusey's trip to the Orient, Vellucci continued to demand "the top brass." "A university like Harvard must have a vice-President," he declared.