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Council Vote Favors Apartment Tenants

Condominium Conversion Rebuffed

By Laurie Hays

The Cambridge City Council last night sifted through at least a month's worth of accumulated business and approved a petition that prevents landlords from evicting tenants for the purpose of converting their apartments to condominiums.

The petition, an amendment to the city's rent control bill, must receive the approval of the State legislature before it becomes law. It must also receive a second approval by the council since City Councilor Lawrence Frisoli filed to reconsider the petition.

Drafted by Saundra Graham, the bill is considered by its supporters to be a step toward halting condominium conversion and providing effective rent control in the city.

Cheers arose from the back of the council chambers last night as Councilor Alfred E. Vellucci voiced his support for the petition. "I don't have any feelings for the big industrialists who want to make money off the working people of Cambridge," Vellucci said.

No Man is an Island

Vellucci added that he cast his vote with "Alfred Vellucci, with neither the Independents nor the Liberals."

Before the council considered the petition, which had been tabled for one month, it adopted rules for the session and discussed Gov. Michael S. Dukakis's order to close the Boston and Cambridge schools for the rest of the week.

Graham initiated the school discussion and said working class parents had no place to leave their children when they go to work, since the schools are closed.

City Manager James Sullivan countered the argument by saying it is unsafe for children to be walking to school with high snow banks blocking drivers' views.

City Councilor David Wylie argued that in the view of some Cambridge parents Cambridge businessmen appear to be taking priority over education.

Public Works Commissioner Conrad Fagone warned city officials this weekend that actual snow removal costs incurred by Cambridge may be much greater than estimated. "No one will know what's under that snow until it's gone. I know we've knocked over some hydrants and some signposts," he said.

Other council business last night included a review of the city manager's salary, by City Councilor Kevin Crane, who proposed to reduce the $52,000 salary to $45,000 after Vellucci proposed to reduce it by one dollar in order to discard the issue. Both moves failed to gain the necessary votes.

The Council will not meet next Monday due to the Washington birthday celebration.

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