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Question 1 threatens Cambridge grad housing

The supply of off-campus housing is threatened by a Cambridge referendum on Nov. 7, referendum Question 1.

Thousands of MIT students and staff live in apartments built before 1969, which are protected by the city's rent control laws. If Question 1 on the ballot passes, all of these apartments could be converted into condominiums, which would no longer be available to students.

This means that thousands of graduate students from Harvard and MIT could be squeezed into surrounding towns and newer, market-rate housing. According to one estimate by a member of the Cambridge Tenants Union, student-shared apartments that now run from $250 to $450 a month would cost $400 to $650 per person per month after Question 1 took effect. This would easily add $1000 to a student's yearly housing bill.

It would take three or four new graduate dormitories to offset the effects of Question 1. So please help out by registering to vote in Cambridge by Oct. 17 and by urging the Graduate Student Council to get people registered to vote "no" on Question 1. The new taxation of graduate assistantships was bad enough. We actually might have the votes to influence this question.

If you live in Cambridge, you may get a letter from the real estate industry urging a "yes" vote for "choice to buy a condo" on Question 1. These letters do not mention what happened when a similar measure passed in Brookline: landlords harassed poor people, elderly tenants, and students to move out so that they could sell off the apartments to wealthier tenants. The question may mean huge profits for the landlords who are sponsoring it. They have tried to trick people by claiming in Question 1 that the new tax revenues generated will be given to the poor. But according to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Question 1 may actually decrease tax revenues.

Cambridge uses a voting system where a voter can rank as many people as he or she wants and nine councillors get elected. Find out the candidates' positions on Proposition 1-2-3 before you vote.

Steven Farber G->

Mark Engel G->

Mike Grossberg G->

David Hersovici G->