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The city council last night unanimously declared a state of emergency in Cambridge and asked the governor to assign state police to all public housing projects in the city.
Cambridge Housing Authority police, who usually patrol the developments, were laid off their jobs last week when the Department of Housing and Urban Development cut $231,000 from the budgets of five Cambridge housing projects.
The emergency order, sponsored by Councilor Alfred E. Vellucci, calls upon the state to provide police protection until the Housing Authority police return. Vellucci said after the meeting that he had no idea how long that would take.
The order declares that people are "living in a state of fear" in the city. The decision to commit state police now rests in the hands of Gov. Francis W. Sargent.
The emergency order was introduced suddenly by Vellucci after discussion of a motion he made at last week's council meeting asking the city manager to transfer $250,000 to the Housing Authority for police protection.
At last night's meeting, City Manager James Leo Sullivan said that he had asked the city solicitor for an opinion regarding the legality of the funds transfer. Sullivan said he doubted that the appropriation, without a request for funds from the Housing Authority, is legal.
Vellucci scored the manager for failing to investigate the Housing Authority's finances. He said that he wanted to "shock the city manager into going to the Housing Authority to get them to provide police protection."
The Housing Authority, which is responsible for security at public housing developments, is legally independent of the city manager's office. Both the manager and the members of the Authority's board are appointed by the city council.
Vellucci's motion was approved by a unanimous voice vote just before the council moved to adjourn.
In other action, the council rescinded a previous order barring the issuance of building permits for the establishment of a McDonald's Restaurant at 405 Rindge Ave., in the wake of agreement between McDonald's and the Metropolitan District Commission on area traffic patterns.
The council voted unanimously on March 4 to voice to the McDonald's Corporation its opposition to the construction of any fast-food establishments in Cambridge.
The animosity born of the coalition that made Walter J. Sullivan mayor in February erupted last night during discussion of a pair of ordinances establishing two new assistant-city-manager posts. The proposal would create an assistant for fiscal affairs, and one for community development.
Councilor Thomas W. Danehy, an unsuccessful mayoral aspirant who was left out of the coalition, divided its four liberals and two independents with two amendments to the motion stipulating that each post be filled only by Cambridge residents.
Three liberals and independent vice mayor Leonard J. Russell voted against both of the amendments. Mayor Sullivan voted for one and against another, and liberal David A. Wylie was absent from the meeting. The amendments failed by 4-to-4 and 4-to-5 votes.
Danehy's amendments were considered by the council even though most councilors felt that they constitute an illegal restriction of employment. Vellucci said that he voted for the motions, even though he doubted their legality, in order to support the principle of the employment of Cambridge residents by the city.
After the failure of his amendments, Danehy charter-righted the two ordinances, which came before the council last night for a second reading.
If the council approves a second reading next week, the measure can be adopted if passed by the council a third time
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