Acquisition: The Skip and Lenore Schloming Papers were donated by Skip Schloming in 2010.
Access: Several documents from folders #1.4, 1.7, 1.12, 2.30, 2.35, 2.36 are closed until January 1, 2078. Redacted copies have been provided in their stead.
Permission to Publish: Requests for permission to publish from the collection should be made to the Executive Director.
Copyright: Copyright in the papers created by Skip and Lenore Schloming is held by the Cambridge Historical Society. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or their authors’ heirs or assigns.
Ralph “Skip” Schloming was born in Los Angeles in 1942 and Lenore Monello Schloming in Boston in 1938. They met during their graduate school studies at Brandeis University in 1966 while living in Cambridge.
In 1974, the Schlomings began purchasing rental property, purchasing a 4-family house previously owned by Lenore’s father. They resided in the house until 1976 when they moved to a rural Maine homestead. While in Maine, the Schlomings ran a small private school where they educated their own children along with a few others from the community. In 1984, the Schlomings purchased a 10-unit property on Inman Street in Cambridge, again from Lenore’s father. They managed the property from Maine until 1989 when they moved back to Cambridge. In 1992, they acquired an additional rental property in Cambridge.
Skip and Lenore Schloming along with a small group of Cambridge, Massachusetts landlords established the Small Property Owners Association in June 1987. Lenore became a board member ca.1989 and president in 1995, a position which she currently holds. She was also a landlord advocate at the Cambridge Rent Board assisting small property owners in trying their cases to increase rents in the face of rent control. Skip describes himself as a “casual” member of the Association until becoming the executive director of the Small Property Owners Association in 1995, a position he currently holds.
The founding mission of the Small Property Owners Association was to abolish rent control laws in the city of Cambridge. To that effect, the Small Property Owners Association organized a statewide effort to repeal rent control which resulted in a state referendum known as Question 9. It was ultimately successful. The organization has since changed its name to the Small Property Owners of America.
In November of 2002, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino proposed a new rent control or “rent stabilization” system in the city of Boston. Influenced by this, the city of Cambridge saw a resurgence of pro rent-control activists seeking “to place a rent-control question on the November  ballot” for the city of Cambridge. This was referred to as Question 1. That citywide referendum which would have reinstated a rent control system in Cambridge was defeated by a 61% majority in great part to the efforts of the Small Property Owners Association.
Edward E. Zuker, trustee, vs.City of Cambridge & another. (1990, October 16).
Ferdinand, Pamela. Contributing Reporter. (1995 January 1). This was Cambridge ’94 :[City Edition]. Boston Globe (pre-1997 Fulltext),p.1. Retrieved February 10, 2011, from Boston Globe. (Document ID: 21519577)
Jonas, Michael. (2000, December 31). On Tenant Rights, Cambridge Tilts Right :[THIRD Edition]. Boston Globe,p. 2. Retrieved February 10, 2011, from Boston Globe. (Document ID: 67516235)
Skip Schloming. (personal communication, February 22, 2011)
Skip Schloming. (personal communication, February 24, 2011)
Small Property Owners Association, SPOA: The First Ten Years 1987-1997, Cambridge, MA: Small Property Owners Association, 1997
Talcott, Sasha, Globe Correspondent. (2003, October 5). Menino Readies New Rent-Control Proposal:[THIRD Edition]. Boston Globe,p. B.10. Retrieved February 11, 2011 from Boston Globe. (Document ID: 419334911)
Additional materials related to the activities of the Small Property Owners Association can be found in the Denise Jillson Papers, 1983-1998, also held by the Cambridge Historical Society. The Cambridge Historical Society also holds the papers of Bill Cavellini, 1945-2002 (inclusive), 1970-1999 (bulk), which document pro rent-control activities in the city of Cambridge.
Scope and Content Note:
The Skip and Lenore Schloming Papers, 1974-2004, which consist of clippings, correspondence, expense reports, mailings, property assessments, property value data sheets, statistical lists, studies on rent control in Cambridge and other cities, tenant/landlord complaints to the Cambridge rent control board, audiotapes and videotapes, etc., provide some insight into the creators’ involvement in the successful movement to ban rent control in the city of Cambridge in particular and ultimately the state of Massachusetts. Much of the information relates to two organizations: the Small Property Owners Association and the Cambridge Homeowners Coalition. Most original folder titles were retained. Information added by processor appears in square brackets.
Series I, Cambridge Homeowners Coalition & Small Property Owners Association Administrative Papers, 1978-2004 (#1.1-1.20), consists of general administrative papers, by-laws, budgets, campaign finance reports, expense reports, out-of-pocket expenses, donor files, and mailings that document the day-to-day operations and governance of both organizations. Also included is information on rent control ballot initiatives, a lawsuit brought by the Small Property Owners Association against the City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Rent Control Board, and a tenth anniversary “memory book” (both an annotated proof and a published copy) which document the history of the organization and its efforts to ban rent control. Correspondence between Skip Schloming and other property owners document their loss of rental properties due to rent control stipulations.
Of final note, there is a transcript of a death threat that Skip Schloming received by phone and a letter from the City of Cambridge Police department addressing such harassing phone calls (It includes a police report number but no police report). These items document the vitriol with which some people reacted to rent control and those that fought to repeal it. This series is arranged alphabetically.
Series II, Appeals and Studies, 1982-2003 (#1.23-2.23), contains hearing files documenting disputes between tenants and landlords adjudicated by the Cambridge Rent Control Board and studies conducted on rent control. Most appeals are identified by the party making the complaint. Several parties are unidentified. These hearing files include individual stories of landlords who lost or nearly lost their homes due to Cambridge Rent Control Board stipulations. These include the case of Marjorie Francis, whose struggle to keep her home at 160 Chestnut Street is documented in correspondence in which she claims that she was ultimately forced to sell the building to her tenants, the members of the 160 Chestnut Street Tenants Union. Other correspondence document her tenants’ complaints and resignations of tenancy, as well as details of repairs needed on the property. (#1.27-1.28) Two audiotapes (see T-2.1-T-2.2) serve as a general oral history of Ms. Francis’ experience as a landlord. Two other cases involving landlords fighting rent control include Donna and Emil Javorsky (#1.31-1.32) and Vincent Bologna (#1.21-1.23). As of 1997, according to the Small Property Owners Association’s memory book, Mr. Bologna was still fighting a tenant who challenged Mr. Bologna’s declaration of bankruptcy due to Rent Control Board decisions about his home. Donna & Emil Javorsky’s tenant claimed they did not live in their residence on Broadway in Cambridge. There is no indication as to how either conflict was resolved.
In addition to studies on rent control in Cambridge, this series also includes studies on rent control in New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and the Berkeley/Santa Monica area of California. This series is arranged alphabetically.
Series III, Research, 1974-2003 (#2.24-3.3), includes correspondence, clippings, property assessments, property value data sheets, statistical lists, mailings, fliers, interview transcripts, research on rent control in other cities, and current and historical material on rent control, as well as dated copies of the Cambridge Rent Control Enabling Act. Clippings and correspondence document Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s 2002 rent stabilization proposal, referred to as the Boston Fair Rent and Tenant Protection Act, to the Boston City Council and its ultimate failure. Clippings also illustrate coverage of rent control issues in New York City from 1996-1997. Also included is undated rent control data for Cambridge, presumably assembled by the Small Property Owners Association; historical information on rent control in Cambridge, including phone interview statements by Lenore Schloming from conversations with Fred Cohn (a Cambridge landlord); Rent Control Enabling Acts and Ordinances from 1974-1993 (not inclusive); and material on Zuker vs. the City of Cambridge which was an appeal concerning “the right of a Cambridge landlord to make optional repairs to a vacant controlled rental unit without first obtaining a removal permit from the Cambridge rent control board.” This series is arranged alphabetically.
Series IV, Videotapes, ca.1990-1998, n.d., (Vt-1.1-Vt-1. 25) is largely comprised of video recordings of Cambridge City Council Meetings with little identifying information, as well as news coverage of the rent control issue in Cambridge, all favoring the view of property owners.This series is arranged chronologically.
The papers are arranged in four series:
Series I: Cambridge Homeowners Coalition & Small Property Owners Association Administrative Papers (#1.1-1.20)
Series II: Appeals and Studies (#1.23-2.23)
Series III: Research (#2.24-3.3)
Series IV: Videotapes (Vt-1.1-Vt-1. 25)
- Rent Control—Massachusetts—Cambridge
- Landlord and tenant—Massachusetts—Cambridge
- Low-income tenants—Massachusetts—Cambridge
- Community activists—Massachusetts—Cambridge
1|1|[Cambridge Homeowners Coalition: Administrative Papers, 2003]
1|2|Cambridge Homeowners Coalition: Campaign Finance Reports, 2003-2004
1|3|Cambridge Homeowners Coalition: Expense Receipts, 2003
1|4|[Cambridge Homeowners Coalition: Follow-up on Question 1 ballot results, 2003]
1|5|Cambridge Homeowners Coalition: “On Time” Mailing, 2003
1|6|[Cambridge Homeowners Coalition: materials on Question 1 ballot initiative, 2003]
1|7|[Cambridge Homeowners Coalition: Tax-payer ID & Statement Guidelines re: 2003 ballot initiative, 2003]
1|8|Small Property Owners Association: Annotated Bibliography [on Boston Globe Coverage of Rent Control, 1984-1995]
1|9|Small Property Owners Association: Budgets, 1991-1996
1|10|Small Property Owners Association: By-Laws, 1992
1|11|Small Property Owners Association: Correspondence, 1978-2004
1|12|Small Property Owners Association: Donors [to Question 9 Referendum Campaign, 1994]
1|13|[Small Property Owners Association: Early Rent Control Reform Attempts, 1987-1988]
1|14|Small Property Owners Association: End of Rent Control, 1997
1|15|Small Property Owners Association: Large Donor Fundraising, 2003
1|16|Small Property Owners Association: Lawsuit – SPOA vs. City of Cambridge & Cambridge Rent Control Board, 1992
1|17|Small Property Owners Association: Receipts and Out-of-Pocket Expenses, 1996-1998
1|18|[Small Property Owners Association: Tenth Anniversary Celebration Plans, 1997]
1|19|Small Property Owners Association: Tenth Anniversary Memory Book, 1987-1997
1|20|Skip Schloming Death Threat, 2003
1|21|[Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Bologna, Vincent, 1982-1995] (1 of 3)
1|22|[Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Bologna, Vincent, 1982-1995] (2 of 3)
1|23|[Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Bologna, Vincent, 1982-1995] (3 of 3)
1|24|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Chan, Jesse, 1991
1|25|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Dixon, Walter, 1990
1|26|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Fitzgerald, Benedict, 1985-1992
1|27|[Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Francis, Marjorie, 1982-1992] (1 of 2) – See T-2.1.-T-2.2. for oral history
1|28|[Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Francis, Marjorie, 1982-1992] (2 of 2) – See T-2.1.-T-2.2. for oral history
1|29|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Ganz, Lauren, 1992
1|30|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Gardner, Russell, 1989
1|31|[Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Javorsky, Emil and Donna, 1983-1991] (1 of 2)
1|32|[Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Javorsky, Emil and Donna, 1983-1991] (2 of 2)
1|33|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Jefferson, Paul and Sarah Griffiths, 1993
1|34|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Krohn, Kevin, 1991-1992
1|35|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Lahn, Bruce, 1993
1|36|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Live, Theodore, 1990
1|37|[Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Menkiti, Ifeanyi and Isador Ives, 1989-1990]
1|38|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Monahan, Alice, 1982-1992
1|39|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Okum, Douglas and George Webber, 1989
2|1|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: O’Neill, John, 1989
2|2|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Papagini, Anthony and Peter, 1989
2|3|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Petrillo, Helen, 1987-1990
2|4|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Selman, Alex, et. al. ,1989
2|5|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Singer, Stuart, 1992
2|6|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Strauss, Adele, et. al., 1989
2|7|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Woodin, John, 1987-1990
2|8|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: 317 Prospect St. (multiple tenants), 1974-1991
2|9|Tenant/Landlord Rent Control Appeals/Disputes: Unidentified Parties, 1989
2|10|Abt(?) Study, 1987
2|11|Atlantic Marketing Research Study, 1998
2|12|Devine Study, 1990
2|13|Downs Study, 1988
2|14|Gilderbloom and Markham Study (New Jersey), 1970-1990
2|15|Goetze Study, 1990
2|16|Goetze Study, 1994
2|17|John Study (Berkeley/Santa Monica), 1993
2|18|Leonard Study, n.d.
2|19|Maringas Study, 1988
2|20|Moncreiff Study, n.d.
2|21|Nathan Associates Study (Washington D.C.), 2000
2|22|Pollakowski Study (New York City), 1999
2|23|Pollakowski Study, 2003
Series III: Research
2|24|[Boston Rent Control: Mayor Menino Proposal/Boston City Council Correspondence, 2002]
2|25|[Boston Rent Control: Clippings, 2002]
2|26|Boston Rent Control: Small Property Association Response, 2002
2|27|Boston Rent Control: Denied clippings [rejection of 2002 ballot initiative to reinstate rent control], 2002
2|28|Cambridge Assessors, 1999
2|29|Cambridge Associates Property Class Codes, 2003
2|30|Cambridge Homeowners Coalition: Campaign data, notes, et. al., 2003
2|31|Cambridge Property Value Data, 2003
2|32|Cambridge Rent Control Data, n.d.
2|33|Cambridge Rent Control Eviction Free Zone, 2002-2003
2|34|Cambridge Rent Control Clippings, 2003
2|35|Cambridge Subsidized Housing Count, 2003
2|36|Campaign for Cambridge Rent Control, 2003
2|37|Data on Rent Control (Cambridge), 1990-1993
2|38|Harmful Effects of Rent Control, 1976-2000
2|39|History of Rent Control in Cambridge, 1975 and n.d.
2|40|History of Rent Control Fred Cohn Interview, 1999-2001
2|41|Honolulu Rent Control, 1995
2|42|New York Rent Control, 1997-2003
2|43|New York Rent Control Clippings, 1996-1997
2|44|[Rent Control Enabling Act, 1974]
2|45|[Rent Control Enabling Act, 1986]
3|1|[Rent Control Enabling Act, 1988]
3|2|[Rent Control Enabling Act, 1993]
3|3|Zuker vs. the City of Cambridge, 1990-1991
OS|1|Fragile materials removed from #1.32
Series IV: Videotapes
Vt 1|1|Cambridge City Council Meeting on funding the Eviction Free Zone, n.d., Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel
Vt 1|2|Cambridge City Council Meeting on limiting occupancy of rent-controlled units to low/moderate income people, April 29th, no year given., Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel
Vt 1|3|Cambridge City Council Meeting on Rent Control Reform, n.d., Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel
Vt 1|4|Cambridge City Council Meeting May 6th, no year given. Features Lenore and Skip Schloming. Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel.
Vt 1|5|Cambridge City Council Meeting, December 10 ca. 1990, Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel
Vt 1|6|Cambridge City Council Meeting, February 11, 1991, Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel
Vt 1|7|Cambridge City Council Meeting, April 8, 1991, Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel
Vt 1|8|Cambridge City Council Meeting, April 22, 1991, Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel
Vt 1|9|Cambridge City Council Meeting, June 10 ca. 1991 – Lenore Schloming speaks; General Adjustment discussed, Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel
Vt 1|10|Cambridge City Council Meeting, June 10, 1991 – re: General Adjustment – Make cost reflect only actual adjustment, Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel
Vt 1|11|Cambridge City Council Meeting, ca. 1992, Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel – mislabeled.
Vt 1|12|Cambridge City Council Meeting, Summer 1992, Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel
Vt 1|13|Cambridge City Council Meeting on Mullins Court, part 1, ca.1993, Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel
Vt 1|14|Cambridge City Council Meeting on Mullins Court, part 2, June 21, 1993, Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel
Vt 1|15|Cambridge City Council Housing Hearings, January 22, 1996 re: public comment, several tenants comments, Charlie Christonson Rebuttal?, Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel – note, first program on tape is Cambridge Inside/Out, Issues and Analysis. Panel discussion touches on rent control very briefly.
Vt 1|16|Cambridge City Council Housing Hearings, February 2, 1996 re: affordable housing/rent control, Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel
Vt 1|17|Cambridge City Council Housing Hearings, December 2, 1996, Skip and others, Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel
Vt 1|18|Cambridge City Council Housing Hearings, December 2, 1996, see notations on tape case, Channel 37, Cambridge Municipal Channel
Vt 1|19|Cambridge Mayor Alice Wolf Town Meeting, n.d.
Vt 1|20|Five on Five, “Cambridge Rent Control,” WCBV TV Channel 5, March 28, 1993
Vt 1|21|“Freedom Vision,” Host Matt Taylor, Guests Peter Jefferson and Lenore Schloming, n.d.
Vt 1|22|Mooney, Sean (reporter), “Tenants from Hell,” WBZ Channel 4, June 15, 1998
Vt 1|23|Quiroga, Jorge (reporter), “Rent Control, No Control” (Parts 1-3) News Center 5 (WCBV TV), n.d.
Vt 1|24|TAPE WITH MULTIPLE SEGMENTS – cued up to first segment
||Quiroga, Jorge (reporter), “Rent Control, Cambridge, Follow Up”, WCBV TV Channel 5, November 16, 1992
||Rea, Dan (reporter), “Rent Control”, WCBV TV Channel 5, November 16, 1992
Vt 1|25|SPOA, “The Demise of Rent Control,” Small Property Owners Association, 1997
3x. Fragile materials removed from #1.31 and #2.32.
3x. Restricted materials from #1.4, 1.7, 1.12, 2.30, 2.35, and 2.36 closed until January 1, 2078.
The following item removed from collection: Videotape – City Council meeting 1990 Lenore Schloming debut – removed because unplayable.
The following newsletters were removed and added to the Cambridge Historical Society Periodical and Newsletter Collection:
Small Property Owners News, March 1997
Small Property Owners News, September 1997
Small Property Owners News, March 1998
Small Property Owners News, November 2002
EFZ (Eviction Free Zone) News, Winter 2003