The Cambridge Peace and Freedom Party will launch a campaign to gather 8000 signatures for a petition calling for a city-wide rent control law.
The law would fix the maximum rent for any Cambridge apartment at a level equal or less than the rents charged on Jan. 1, 1968. The new law would not apply to small dwellings with four apartments or less.
"The rents in Cambridge have reached criminal levels," Ronald W. Stoia '68, the party's leader, told a sparsely-at-tended organization meeting in the Dunster Junior Common Room yesterday. "If students and working people work together, we can do something about this outrageous situation," Stoia said.
If the Party does succeed in getting the necessary number of signatures, the law will go to the Cambridge City Council for approval. "If they don't pass it--and they probably won't because they kowtow to the real estate interests--it goes before the city in a special election," Stoia said.
Stoia said Harvard and M.I.T. are two of the biggest landlords in Cambridge and that they charge exorbitant rates in many cases. "They use front organizations to acquire valuable land holdings throughout the city," Stoia said. "One day an anonymous real estate agent buys a building, and the next day you find out that Harvard owns the building," he added.
The Peace and Freedom Party was originally formed in California. Made up of students and graduates of Boston area schools, the Cambridge Party has over 40 members. Party members already have distributed leaflets in favor of rent control throughout Cambridge.
With the state's law dying in committee, weaker local controls may well be on the waySince the beginning of the year, the question of keeping rent control legislation alive in Massachusetts has been a source
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