The Cambridge City Council last night referred to committee Mayor Alfred E. Vellucci's proposed drug legislation which would have paid $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of major suppliers, and $1000 for similar information on street pushers. The Council vote was unanimous and came after 90 minutes of debate.
As soon as the meeting was called to order, Vellucci himself suggested that the legislation be referred to the City Manager, police chief and City Solicitor so that they could rewrite the proposal "in proper legal fashion."
Vellucci thus preempted the eight other City Councilors, some of whom said that they would insist on revised legislation.
The section of Vellucci's proposal that was challenged the most specified "that said reward does not exclude the members of law enforcement agencies." Councillor Thomas Mahoney said, "The idea that these people [police] should be given [an additional] monetary incentive for doing their job is something I find very difficult to accept."
Mahoney, who spoke at length in opposition to Vellucci's bill, said that "giving bounties to people is an encouragement to the irresponsible elements of this community. We may see Cambridge become another Boston insofaras the incidence of gangland murders is concerned."
In a political jab at Vellucci, Mahoney pointed at several television cameras and observed "this glare that has invaded the Chamber." He cautioned, "It does not always follow that the headlines produce the results."
Vellucci appeared very hurt at Mahoney's suggestion that the pride of East Cambridge might have had political motivations for proposing the measure. "I don't know whether I introduced this order as a Mayor, or as a father, or as a friend, because I'm seeing these kids and they're sick, real sick," Vellucci said.
"This was not headline hunting," Vellucci said, "please believe me. We will see that out of all of this, something will come that is of benefit to the children of Cambridge."