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Major Cities Vote Today

By Frank Rich

Mrs. Louise Day Hicks, nationally known for her slogan "neighborhood schools for neighborhood children," is expected to win easily in her race for a seat on the Boston city council as Boston voters go to the polls today.

A total of nine seats are at stake on the city council and five on the school committee.

The campaign for city council has been relatively quiet this year. The incumbent councillors have spent the entire past week closeted in the council chambers debating the rent control question and Mrs. Hicks, former school committee chairman and candidate for mayor, has failed to match the outspokenness of her earlier campaigns for office.

Mrs. Hicks has been a steadfast opponent of the racial imbalance laws in Massachusetts which forbid school enrollments more than 50 per cent non-white. She also has stubbornly opposed proposals to remedy racial imbalance in the city of Boston through busing.

Her success in attracting a large number of votesin Boston's mayoral election two years ago was thought by observers then to signal a growing urban-white backlash.

In the school committee race, four incumbents, including present chairman, John J. Kerrigan, from Dorchester, are seeking re-election to the five man committee. During the campaign there have been some rumors that various members of the school committee had gotten jobs in the school system for relatives, but few candidates made public accusations to this effect.

One of the challengers for a school committee seat is Mrs. Dorothy Bisbee, a 73-year-old grandmother and former schoolteacher.

While Bostonians are voting, 38 other Massachusetts cities are also holding elections, most of them to choose new mayors. Of particular interest is the mayoral election in Somerville. There, political newcomer Rev. S. Lester Ralph, an Episcopal minister, is running against a candidate accused of using his post as clerk of the Somerville District Court to further his political ambitions.

At an election eve WGBH-TV rally for all the Boston city council candidates, Mrs. Hicks pledged support for the 'forgotten Bostonian... the middle class man who pays the bills for Boston." The candidate from South Boston was surrounded by high school and college age students waving "Hicks for City Council" placards.


Approximately 30,000 Cambridge voters will go to the polls today to choose nine city councillors and seven school committeemen.

Seven incumbent councillors are seeking reelection; four of the present school committeemen are running again. Two incumbent school committeemen- Daniel F. Clinton and Gustave M. Solomons- are seeking council seats.

Though most of the incumbents are favored to win their races, there is a good possibility that one of the current councillors- Daniel J. Hayes Jr.- will lose his re-election bid.

Because of the City's complicated Proportional Representation electoral system, the final election results will not be determined for several days. The Cambridge Election Commission will begin counting the ballots on Wednesday morning.

Earlier this fall, attempts were made to have a referendum on rent control on the ballot. The proposed rent control ordinance however, was ruled unconstitutional by a Middlesex SuperiorCourt judge.

Since rent control is not on the ballot, the turnout for the elections will probably not be as high as the 31,383 who came out in 1967. when a controversial Vietnam referendum was on the ballot. Registration has fallen to 42,638 from the 1967 total of 44,686.

The rent control issue has, however, produced several splinter candidates who are running on a platform of rent control for Cambridge. Most are felt to have little chance of election.

The elections will probably preserve the long-standing balance of power between the City's two informal factions.- The Cambridge Civic Association, (CCA), a good government group, and the so-called "independents" (non-CCA candidates.)

Currently, there are four CCA supporters on the council as against five independents. Three school committee-men are CCA and three are independents, but the current mayor, Walter J. Sullivan, who chairs the committee and often casts the deciding vote there, is an independent.

When the council elected today is seated in January, its first order of business will be to elect one of their numbers the new mayor. Though he presides ?? council meetings, the mayor is for practical purposes, only one more councillor there. His only real influence comes from his swing position on the School Committee.

At present, no one is willing to predict whether Mayor Sullivan-one of the City's most accomplished politicians-will win re-election to the post in January, but his chances are probably good.

The new council will also have to decide whether to retain the City Manager. Cambridge's most important official, in his post. Two years ago, the question ?? whether to fire the then City Manager was a major issue in the council campaign. This time, however, the fate of the current City Manager, James L. Sullivan, has not been such an issue.

New York

New Yorkers will go to the polls today for or against their dashing liberal mayor, John Lindsay. The election climaxes a long and often brutal campaign that has shattered both major political parties in New York City.

Those voting against the Mayor will vote for either Republican-Conservative John Marchi, a Staten Island State Senator, or Democrat Mario Procaccino, the city's Comptroller. Lindsay, who lost the Republican primary to Marchi in June, is running on both Liberal and Independent tickets.

The final tally of the New York Daily News straw poll- never wrong in a mayoral election-indicates that the anti-Lindsay vote will go 27 per cent for Procaccino and 23 per cent for Marchi, with Lindsay getting a 48 per cent plurality.

Whatever the results of the election, New York's party system will never be the same. Most liberal politicians have deserted their party's standard-bearers to support Lindsay. These include Herman Badillo and Percy Sutton, Democrat boroughpresidents of the Bronx and Manhattan and New York's Republican Senators, Charles Goodell and Jacob Javits.

The effect of these desertions has been greater on the Democrats. Seven of nine New York voters are Democrats, and the liberal majority of these seem to have revolted against Procaccino, thereby gutting the party organization which traditionally has run New York.

The Republican party in New York small and conservative, has long been at odds with Lindsay. A Lindsay victory today-one which would come without official party backing-would place the Mayor in a strange position in national Republican politics. It is questionable whether party regulars on a national level would give the Mayor many brownie points for a victory built around Democratic support and a campaign that turned opposition to President Nixon's Vietnam policy into a major issue. Both Nixon and Governor Rockefeller tacitly endorsed Marchi in the election.

While Lindsay goes into today's election the front-runner, he was considered the underdog at the campaign's outset. Procaccino, who won the Democratic primary with less than a third of the vote against four liberals-Former Mayor Robert Wagner. Badillo, Norman Mailer and Congressman James Schener-saw his initial strength erode quickly over the summer and fall. Political columnists blame his apparent decline on his failure to make any reconciliatory gesture to his party's disaffected middle-class liberals, his inability to branch out beyond the law-and-order issue, and his "hot" image in the recent three-way television debates.

As usual, it is New York's large Jewish vote which holds the key to the election. Lindsay carried 3 per cent of it in 1965. He will have to do at least that well today to emerge victorious tonight.

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