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Howe, Vellucci Sling Insults

By Seth A. Gitell

In Cambridge's hottest legislative race this year race, both candidates have accused each other of mudslinging-and been guilty of it.

Because of redistricting measures, Thursday's Democratic primary matches up two incumbents who have often run for re-election unopposed: Peter A. Vellucci of Cambridge and Marie E. Howe of Somerville.

"With two candidates this close, you're going to have charges and countercharges," said noted political analyst Michael Goldman, whom Vellucci, the son of Cambridge Mayor Alfred E. Vellucci, enlisted for this year's battle.

Allegations stemming from as far back as 1976 have flown from both candidates and others involved in the race.

Vellucci has called Howe a deceitful old-style politician. "She goes to all the wakes and cries," said Vellucci of his opponent. "The sun has set for them kind of politicians."

"I think the people see right through them," he said.

"I have been a progressive for 24 years," Howe replied this week, saying she has run "an issue-oriented campaign," while Vellucci "has run a campaign of distortion."

"He tries to get into the slime and the sleaze," she said. "My record will stand up to any scrutiny."

But Vellucci said Howe was the mudslinger.

"She's attacking me on a personal level," he said. "I'm running a positive campaign on women's rights and reproductive rights."

"She is lying on how she voted on comparable worth," said Vellucci campaign manager and legislative aide Clifford Truesdell '66, saying Howe formerly opposed legislation requiring that women be paid the same as men for work of similar value.

Howe claims to have always favored such measures. She said this week that the Massachusetts Political Almanac had made a mistake in recording her vote on the issue and that she had later corrected it. But Vellucci said a spokesman for the Almanac told him she had never contacted the Almanac office.

Howe said she supports comparable worth and voted in favor of it in the past. She said that the Almanac confused her vote on comparable worth with her vote on the following measure.

Howe said Vellucci was investigated by the district attorney's office on vote-tampering charges at a local nursing home in 1985. "I wouldn't trust him when he tries to manipulate voting at elderly homes."

Truesdell called Howe's statements "scurrilous accusations." He said that while the district attorney did investigate Vellucci in an incident at the nursing home, "no improprieties were ever found to have happened." "Peter was there to notorize absentee ballots."

Somerville politicians who endorse Vellucci over Howe have said that Howe voted against appointing rather than electing city assessors in order to protect the job of her brother, an elected assessor.

"She thwarted our efforts to professionalize the board of assesors even after a report from the state Department of Revenue," said State Sen. Salvatore R. Albano (D-Somerville). "She attempted to protect her brother's job."

Truesdell said that while Vellucci has attacked Howe on the issues, Howe has struck lower by attacking Vellucci's and his own personal characters.

Replied Howe, "[Truesdell] never took a course in ethics at Harvard."

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