The Cambridge Civic Association (CCA), the nation's oldest municipal political party, will celebrate its 35th anniversary next week with a party organizers are billing as a reunion of legendary city political figures, many of whom have not been close politically for 15 years.
Conservatives Edward A. Crane '35 and Joseph DeGuglielmo, former city councilors, the more liberal Barbara Ackerman, another former councilor, and Mayor Francis H Duehay '55, will be featured speakers at the event, scheduled for Oct. 15.
"Some of these people have not been particularly friendly to the CCA for a little while," Elaine Kistiakowsky, president of the CCA said yesterday. The CCA has become more liberal and tenant-oriented over the last decade.
"They're coming home and getting together as one big happy family," Kistiakowsky said, adding "It's still too early to tell if this represents a political as well as a social reunion."
The CCA grew out of the political forces backing reform of Cambridge's city charter in the late 1930s. It was predominantly a "good government" taxpayers group, though Kistiakowsky said, "We wouldn't be ashamed today of our first platform--it showed a lot of social conscience."
But the turmoil and strife of the 1960s changed the CCA "like it changed virtually every other institution in the city," Kistiakowsky said.
The controversy over the 'Inner Belt', a highway designed to pass through several poorer neighborhoods of Cambridge, had a major politicizing effect," she said. "People were forced to do an about-face, to realize that these social engineering programs could have adverse effects," she said.
But the shift in CCA emphasis, including its outspoken support for rent control, caused the group to split and many members to become disenchanted. For example, Edward Crane's son, Councilor Kevin P. Crane '73, has never sought CCA endorsement, and ran instead as an Independent.