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New City Councilor Wylie Advocates Rent Control

This is the fourth in a series of articles profiling the four newly-elected Cambridge city councilors.

By Pamela R. Saunders

David A. Wylie, a former city councilor who lost his first bid for reelection in 1975, will return to the Cambridge City Council in January following a show of support by his primarily affluent and well-educated following in the November election.

Wylie, a member of the liberal Cambridge Convention slate, said yesterday that Cambridge's unusual 30-year-old system of proportional representation voting resulted in both his defeat two years ago and his victory this year. "The public, however, is misusing PR [proportional representation] by voting for the candidate who seems to need the votes," he said.

Wylie campaigned heavily in favor of rent control this past fall. Real estate has long been an interest of Wylie's, stemming from his work in the mid-1960 s for the Boston Redevelopment Authority as a lawyer for two major urban renewal projects, and from his specialization in real estate law.

Unlike many of the other city councilors who pride themselves on their "Cambridge roots", Wylie neither grew up nor was educated in Cambridge. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, he moved to West Cambridge 18 years ago, and first became involved in Cambridge city politics in 1968 when he ran successfully for the first of his three terms on the School Committee.

Wylie said he believes it is important to have good relations between the city and the University. "However, my relations with Harvard have been less than entirely amicable due to my favoring some rezoning projects in the past that Harvard wasn't happy with," Wylie said.

Despite his political activity, Wylie is somewhat pessimistic about the future of democracy in American society. "I think democracy is going to be very short-lived because it is not being practiced," Wylie said.

His major concern as councilor, therefore, will be to encourage the participation of citizens in public affairs at the municipal level. "Cambridge is uniquely able to serve as a demonstration of this, because we already have, for our size, a large number of citizens doing this," Wylie said.

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