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Nov. Vote on Rent Control Is In Doubt

City May Not Have Power to Pass the Bill


A decision handed down last week by Massachusetts' highest court is casting a shadow over the referendum for rent control in Cambridge, which was slated to be on the City's November 4 ballot.

In an advisory opinion, the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth said, in effect that cities in the state did not have the power to pass rent control unless the state legislature passed a law specifically allowing them to do so. The opinion came in response to a request for advice about a proposal for rent control in Boston.

As a result of the opinion, Cambridge Elcetion Commissioner Francis Burns is asking City Solicitor Philip M. Cronin '53 whether the Cambridge rent control petition should go on the ballot. The petition had previously passed all the steps necessary for an initiative petition to get on the ballot.

The rent control proposal, which would freeze rents in Cambridge at January, 1968, levels, was advanced last Fall by the Cambridge Rent Control Referendum, an off-shoot of the radical Peace and Freedom Party.

From door-to-door canvassing and tables in Harvard and Central Squares, the referendum group collected the signatures of over 5000 registered voters of Cambridge asking that the measure be put on the ballot.

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