City Council Votes to Prohibit Cambridge Common Concerts

The Cambridge City Council voted last night to "ban all future musical concerts and art festivals on the Cambridge Common."

The order, which was introduced by Mayor Walter J. Sullivan, was passed by a five to four margin after a lengthy debate.

Councilor David A. Wylie had the vote postponed last week, through the use of his charter right, in an attempt to prevent prohibition of the concerts and instead substitute a system of noise monitoring to reduce the disturbance in the area around the Common.

Nomination Withdrawal

In other action, City Manager James L. Sullivan withdrew from consideration the name of Joanne Pelham for appointment to the Cambridge Housing Authority.


Sullivan cited the "serious conditions" of the Housing Authority and the need to reassess the situation as grounds for the withdrawal.

Councilor Saundra Graham, who was a supporter of Pelham, requested a legal opinion on the authority of the City Manager to withdraw names from consideration by the Council.

Sullivan's move aroused speculation that the real reason for the removal of Pelham's name from consideration was a lack of the necessary five votes for approval.

Wylie's original motion on the Common concerts, which was defeated by a vote of six to three, proposed to set decibel limits on the amount of noise that could be emitted on the Common and prohibit any loud noise after 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Mayor Sullivan rejected the amendment on the grounds that such efforts at metering and reducing the level of sound had been tried in past years and failed. The mayor suggested that the concerts on the Common should be moved to the banks of the Charles River.

Fundamental Problem

Councilor Francis H. Duehay '55, dean of admissions at the Ed School, said he finds the noise level from the amplified music "intolerable" and that there is a "fundamental problem" with the use of the Common if the noise level disturbs other people.

Duehay proposed that the Council go on record to support the moving of the concert to the Charles, and the Council unanimously concurred.

Wylie protested that moving the concerts to the MDC owned land along the Charles was only "passing the buck."

Councilor Alfred E. Vellucci said the Council vote to ban the free assembly of citizens is dangerous because of the precedent it sets. He said he fears that in the future the Council will vote to prohibit other concerts and ethnic festivals in the city.