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Rent Referendum Hearing Scheduled in Court Today

By Thomas P. Southwick

The issue of whether to place a rent control referendum on the November 4 election ballot comes before a Middlesex County Superior Court hearing at 9 a. m. today.

Supporters of a rent control referendum appealed to the court last week to reverse a decision of the Cambridge Election Commission which refused to place the referendum on the ballot. The Commission decision was based on a ruling by Cambridge City Solicitor Philip M. Cronin 53 that the proposed rent control bill is "Illegal and unconstitutional."

The court has subpoenaed members of the Election Commission as well as Cronin and Cambridge City Manager James L. Sullivan to testify today.

Both the Election Commission and supporters of rent control have requested an early decision so that ballots may be prepared for the election.

A spokesman for the rent control supporters, said that he expects a decision early this week, if not today.

Supporters of the referendum led by members of the Peace and Freedom Party, plan to base their appeal on a 1967 ruling by the Middlesex County Superior Court. That ruling ordered a referendum on the Vietnam War to be placed on the ballot, overturning a decision by the Election Comm

ission.

The court in its ruling, said that it is not the function of the Commission to decide the legality of the referendum.

The duty of the Commission, the court said, is a ministerial one, limited to determining whether all standards for a referendum have been met. This duty was limited to such functions as counting and aff

irming petition signatures.

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