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After an amazing display of political ballyhoo, redundant rhetoric, and parliamentary chaos, a confused Cambridge City Council last night defeated a proposal for a non-binding rent control referendum by a vote of 5-3, with one councillor voting "present."
With the wile that has made him famous, Councillor Alfred E. Vellucci once again proved himself the political master. Charging the three councillors who introduced the referendum order with "political expediency," Vellucci maneuvered them into voting against three of his amendments which they otherwise might well have supported:
a provision exempting one, two and three-family owner-occupied units from any rent control bill;
a provision asking that the City tax all University property in Cambridge;
a provision asking that Harvard and M.I.T stop expansion into the City.
Because they did not want the referendum to be saddled with extra provisions which might cause its defeat at the polls, the three pro-referendum councillors voted against the Vellucci amendments, which were all defeated.
Then Vellucci swung into action again. Voting "present" himself and relying on the anti-referendum councillors for the rest of the votes, Vellucci completely routed his political opposition withoutdamaging his self-proclaimed image as "a great champion of rent control." The referendum proposal was defeated, 5-3.
Also yesterday, the Council passed a resolution making October 15 "a day of renewed dedication to the search for peace and world community."
Square's Name Changed
Winding up the busy session, the councillors approved a Vellucci resolution changing the name of Harvard Square again. Last March Vellucci had the Council change the name to Piazza Leprechano in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Yesterday, to honor Christopher Columbus the Council accepted Vellucci's resolution renaming it Piazza Christopho Colombo.
Vellucci also announced last night his candidacy for the Presidency of Harvard College, citing his experience on the Cambridge School Committee and as President of the Cambridge Italian-American Committee.
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