To the Editors of The Crimson:

You are to be complimented on your excellent coverage of the recent Cambridge elections, which was on the whole comprehensive, thorough, and fair; the pre-election Dump Truck supplement was particularly noteworthy in these respects. Nonetheless, we do feel compelled to respond for the record to your analyses of the results, published in your November 7 and 8 editions.

(1) The unified Cambridge Convention '75 campaign did have a significant effect citywide. Over 5,600 new voters registered this year. Turnout increased by nearly 2,000 over its 1973 level. The corresponding fraction of "number one" votes received by liberals improved from 40 to 42 per cent for City Council candidates and from 43 to 47 per cent on the School Committee side.

(2) The CC '75 strategy did not fail "because there was no real commitment to Cambridge on the part of the young voters..." This conclusion appears to be derived largely from a superficial analysis of the election-night returns by Election Commissioner Edward J. Samp. Jr., whose decade-long obstruction of the voting rights of Cambridge students hardly qualifies him as an impartial observer. In fact, well over 1,000 non-native students registered in Cambridge during 1975. Turnout in Ward 6, Precinct 3, a majority of whose voters is composed of Harvard undergraduates, jumped 150 over 1973, one of the largest increases in the city. The preliminary returns indicate that student turnout on election day was, if anything, slightly higher than that citywide.

(3) Criticism of CC '75 organization on campus seems equally inapposite. A small but hard-working group of undergraduates not only phoned the dorm room of every Harvard-Radcliffe student voter, but also stuffed every one of their mailboxes with a student-oriented "get-out-the-vote" leaflet on election eve.

(4) Any implication of CC '75 bias against the city's ethnic-oriented, working class neighborhoods is especially regrettable, since one of the principal motivations of the whole Convention effort was to begin to move away from the bitter, regressive class cleavages which have poisoned Cambridge politics for over a generation. The surprising victories of Sara Mae Berman and David Clem, two liberal candidates from neighborhoods east of Harvard Square, indicate a partial success here. The overwhelming broad-based neighborhood support for Frank Duehay and the courageous candidacy of Steve Buckley, a member of a longtime name appeared on none of the "liberal" slates that year, and the clear majority of his votes originated outside the traditional liberal constituency. Rather, the CC '75 effort did succeed in preventing the deterioration in the City Council which would almost certainly have otherwise resulted; consequently, rent control is probably safe and Jim Sullivan will likely stay on as City Manager. Finally, several hundred "excess" liberal votes (a far cry from 1973) helped elect AI Vellucci, an outcome which will not be lost on that "swing" Councillor.

Still, the election results are a disappointment. Conservative majorities now will apparently hold sway on both the City Council and the School Committee, with all the unfortunate effects on public policy and personnel appointments which that fact implies. The campaign was not as issue-oriented as we would have preferred and tried to ensure; one can only speculate as to what the outcome would have been had the rent control issue been brought home to the thousands who failed to register or stayed away from the polls. If there is a lesson to be learned, it is perhaps the necessity of long-term organizing in all of Cambridge's diverse communities. Elizabeth Glazer '77   David E. Sullivan, 2L   Cambridge Convention '75

Recommended Articles