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The administration of John W. "God can do it" Lyons, Mayor of Cambridge as well as its governmental antithesis, the city manager scheme under Plan E, will be tested before the Massachusetts courts in the next few weeks.
Although the case of the people versus Lyons has attracted more wide-spread interest, the test of the constitutionality of Plan E is of lasting importance to Cambridge citizens, for it will decide the lines of Cambridge government for the future.
Accepted in Election
Plan E, which provides for city manager government and propotional representation, was first offered to the people in 1938. The offer was declined through the frenzied action of the old guard, street corner and back alley politicians. But under the aegis of Dean Landis and several other exponents of the plan it won a second chance and, despite the combined efforts of the diehards, was accepted by a large margin.
Charging that Plan E violates the clause in the Massachusetts constitution giving each voter an equal right to vote for the man of his choice, two Cambridge voters brought a test case before the state supreme court.
Since under plan E a quota is set for the number of votes needed to place a man in office, and any surplus ballots go to the voter's listed choice, the opponents charged that the people are unable to vote for the man of their choice.
But, according to Dean Landis, their grievance is unfounded, for equality of vote is not denied to a citizen, since his candidate is already elected before his ballot goes to his second choice.
Indicted Last Fall
Lyons, who achieved lasting fame with his rationalization on snow clearance, "God brought it, and He'll have to take it away," was indicted last fall by crusading District Attorney Robert F. Bradford '23 on charges of requesting and accepting bribes from various contracting and building concerns.
His trial opened in the Massachusetts Superior Criminal Court yesterday, and most of the session was spent in choosing the jurors from a panel swelled to an unusually large degree to take care of maximum challenges from both state and defense
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