It’s tough to read too much into election results. But, yesterday Ward 6 voters did seem to send one message. The Ward 6 voters rejected the nasty smear campaign waged by Lisa Gordon, former Alderman Ken Parker, Newtonville Area Council member-aspirant Carolyn Gabbay and others, in which they tried to weaponize Councilor Brenda Noel’s position with a worthy local not-for-profit against her.

In addition to her civic responsibilities, Councilor Noel is the Executive Director of the Newton Weston Wellesley Committee for Livable Housing, a not-for-profit that provides permanent housing, support services, and advocacy to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. From the NWW website:

NWW’s mission is threefold: to offer a spectrum of local services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to offer support services to their families, and to offer programs to increase community awareness and receptivity regarding persons with disabilities.

NWW adheres to specific guiding principles that are reflected in all agency services and supports:

  • NWW respects the dignity of all individuals.
  • NWW protects the rights of all individuals.
  • NWW promotes community participation by providing as many opportunities as possible for individualized experiences in a wide range of community settings.
  • NWW encourages relationships among families, friends, neighbors and co-workers.
  • NWW supports the free expression of choice and decision-making and enables individuals and their families to develop their self-advocacy skills.

Clearly, Gordon, Parker and Gabbay’s smear campaign — suggesting that it was somehow unethical that developer Robert Korff is among the numerous churches, foundations, government agencies, businesses, foundations and individuals supporting housing and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities — didn’t work. Councilor Noel defended her seat with nearly 60% of the vote in Ward 6: 1,269 to 912. I like to think that it’s even worse for Gordon, Parker and Gabbay. I imagine that the voters rejected Gordon so soundly, because she and her supporters thought it was a good idea to attack someone for having a day job dedicated to helping others less fortunate than all of us that relies on community donations. Or, maybe voters just couldn’t stomach the irony of an anti-housing candidate questioning her opponent’s integrity in regard to her work providing affordable housing to those who need it most.

Read the mission statement again. Imagine thinking that working for NWW should be a liability. Imagine thinking that a City Council seat was worth trying to make working for NWW a liability. Frankly, It would be more controversial if Korff (who donates to many local not-for-profits) didn’t give to an organization that is doing such good work.

On the bright side, Gordon, Parker and Gabbay have highlighted that there are, in our community, people who require assistance. And, Gordon, Parker and Gabbay have highlighted the good work — the essential work — that Councilor Noel and NNW do for these folks and, by extension, our community.

In recognition of the bright side, I’m going to make I have made a $150 contribution to NWW in recognition of Gordon, Parker and Gabbay. I encourage everyone else to contribute, too. If you do, please leave a comment. You don’t have to say how much you gave. Just give.

Let’s make this a thing. It’s easy. NWW has a page.

If Lisa Gordon, Ken Parker and Carolyn Gabbay have an ounce of shame among them, they’ll donate, too.