My vote does not automatically betoken disaster. The Cambridge election yesterday bears that out — somewhat. Why, Henrietta Davis, my No. 3 vote for city council, was re-elected, and Marjorie Decker, my No. 6 vote, and so on …
In fact, five of my nine votes for city council came through, and four of my six for school committee.
But rent control failed, a “lopsided defeat that probably marks the permanent end of rent control as an issue in Cambridge,” according to Robert Winter’s Cambridge Civic Journal.
Out of 20,299 votes cast, 12,467 were opposed to rent control and 7,832 were in favor. The home-rule petition needed slightly more than 18,800 to move on to the Legislature, and that’s pretty much all the people who voted.
I’m not so sure rent control is dead, but I’m also sure I have no idea what its backers were thinking, forcing the vote in an off-year when motivations to come to the polls are low — that is, unless you’re a property owner petrified by the thought of rent restrictions being set in place again. For renters, who are in a relatively gentle market, rent control probably doesn’t seem that urgent. (It may again soon.) More of Cambridge’s 55,000-plus voters would have made it to the polls next year to vote against President Bush’s re-election.
Which reminds me: The sole Cambridge candidate with the guts to identify himself as a Republican, city council hopeful Robert L. Hall Sr., was cut in the fourth round of the election, earning, on his own, 96 first-place votes. To paraphrase “Repo Man,” “I don’t want no rent control in my city. No Republicans either!”