Ballot Proposition One, which would have petitioned the state legislature to exempt Cambridge from a state law banning rent control, needed one third of Cambridge’s 56,000 registered voters to support it.
But it failed to garner a simple majority, receiving 7,218 votes in its favor and 11,010 votes in opposition in preliminary counts.
Vincent L. Dixon ’77, a candidate for city council who unambiguously supported rent control, freely admitted defeat yesterday.
“The only way you’re going to get rent control now is if the war gets worse and it’s a national measure—like price controls under Nixon,” he said.
Mary Regan, a leader of the Committee for Cambridge Rent Control, predicted before the results of the vote were announced last night that voter turnout was not high enough to pass the measure outright.
Instead, she said, she hoped the referendum would prompt the city council to send a petition to the statehouse.
Although the council could still submit such a petition, all of last night’s newly elected councillors except for Kenneth E. Reeves ’72 went on record opposing the ballot measure before the election. Reeves said that the council should send a petition only if the “overwhelming majority” of voters supported it.
Rent control ended in Cambridge in 1994, when a statewide ballot referendum outlawed the practice.
It had long been a hot-button issue in Cambridge politics.