'Joke' email by Norwalk councilman irks colleagues

Second ward councilman at first thought it was "humorous" but admitted it "can be interpreted as racist."
TNS Regional News
Jan 5, 2014


A long-time Norwalk councilman said he didn’t believe an email he sent to friends, former co-workers, and the city law director was racist and derogatory to minorities, but instead he interpreted its content as humorous.

The email, entitled “Spelling Bee Champ,” was forwarded Dec. 12 from the personal email account of Norwalk Councilman Robert Carleton to more than a dozen people, including Norwalk law director G. Stuart O’Hara.

Carleton, the second ward councilman, admitted during an interview with The Blade to sending the contents in an email.

“In hindsight, I can see how it can be interpreted as racist, ... but that wasn’t my intent when I sent it. I thought it was humorous,” Carleton said.

Through insensitive, and bigoted jargon, the email, with grammatical and spelling errors, cruelly mocks an African-Hispanic girl who received extra points in a school spelling contest for “being black,” “not bringin” drugs and guns to class and “not getting pregnut during the cemester.”

The email also attacked the Affordable Care Act and affirmative action.

Carleton, 71, was elected to city council in the 1990s. According to the Huron County Republican Party Web site, he is an endorsed member of the party.

A copy of the email, including the list of recipients who were forwarded the message, was sent on Friday to The Blade.

When contacted, Carleton confirmed that the email account belonged to him and that he had sent the message to other people. The Gmail account he used to send the email from also is listed online as an contact for him as councilman.

O’Hara recalled that after receiving the email from Carleton about a month ago he immediately shared its contents with Mayor Rob Duncan and Steve Euton, president of city council. “I was shocked,” he said. “I didn’t care for the joke, if that’s what it was suppose to be.”

Other recipients of the message included former and current employees of a company in Tiffin, where Carleton used to work.

Duncan said he referred the matter to Euton after he obtained the email from the law director. He said actions of council members are not under the control of the administration and any discipline, censure, or review is the responsibility of council.

“Bob is technically not part of the administration. He is part of city council so we really don’t have authority over council. But this is nothing that we would condone or endorse,” Duncan said. “I think I know Bob well enough and I don’t think he would do anything malicious and intentional. But I think the content is unacceptable.”

The email controversy didn’t come up at the Dec. 17 council meeting, the mayor said.

Duncan said the incident prompted the administration to issue a memo asking elected city officials to be careful of the content of emails.

“I can see where someone would do that without thinking about it. But in our positions we have to think,” Duncan said.


By Mark Reiter - The Blade, Toledo, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

Visit The Blade (Toledo, Ohio) at www.toledoblade.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services



IMO, Mr. Carleton's only "crime" was forwarding an email of questionable taste.

Does everyone on his receiving list now have to come forward and condemn this Ebonics "joke"?

I tend to delete email jokes sent to me without reading them. It's so 1999.


The content of the joke is not as important as the fact that Carleton should have known better than to forward a questionable joke. It shows poor judgment on his part which is the real issue. C'mon, Bob. You should have known better. You make yourself, City Council, and everyone in Norwalk look like a bunch of 1950's racists who just don't get it. A real embarrassment for the community.


IMO, 'if necessary,' Mr. Carleton should issue a variation of the following 'standard' wishy-washy apology so popular with liberals:

I sincerely regret if anyone was offended, as I meant no offense by it.

Case close.


I like Bob, but this was in poor taste. We should expect more of our elected officials than to perpetuate class warfare through lame email chains. I unfortunately also get sent many of these pretty offensive chain messages and, frankly, I'm glad to finally see someone held accountable for blindly forwarding it on-- even if I consider that person to be a friend.


Well,did she get those extra considerations ? If she did then it's reverse racism !


I'm not offended by it.....it's what I have come to expect as "Republican humor".


wow more ignorance from a lefty, KKK democrat, civil rights laws 100% pass republican vote only 23% democrat vote. shall we go on?


No..you shall go on and get a G.E.D.


oh typical attacks just like a lib, I graduated thank you, and have a good job. Maybe you should have paid attention in history class.

modern concrete

More to education than history class! We have way more important thing going on in our city,than some councilpersons passing stupid emails. Norwalk reflector can we stick to real news!


It is usually the only way you Lib Socialists know how to engage in any dialogue.Name calling and crying racism.You should run on the Dumacrat ticket for Bozo's 3rd term .He will do just like FDR and start a war like all those traitors that were presidents.Watch "Loose Change" also "The lost Tapes of 911 " Everyone of them was a murderer !


Jackel: You'll have to slow down, Zippy can't read and or comprehend very well. He only knows one course of action, and you've seen plays # 1-100 in his playbook above.

Attack, name call, and then, the ever popular SPIN!!!!!!!!


Lol! Move out of your parents basement.


you make it so easy, thank you for proving my point

Dr. Information

Lets not forget, the liberal spin machine known as MSNBC just recently had a host who said that Sarah Palin be urinated and crapped on and thats ok by 44846 even though the host said it was in bad taste. Typical liberals, spew crap only to turn around and eat it.


Sounds like a hot Carl. All steamy n stinky.


Don't we all get questionable email most everyday? O'Hara and Duncan made an issue out of an email and were "shocked"? Why attempt to discredit a long time resident and elected councilman? Put that in a memo Mr. Duncan. Next time I suggest you just activate "delete" and move on to a real problem.

Kottage Kat

O'Hara's a prude. Lighten up. Has he never Seen what gets sent on Facebook, if it offends delete and address privately.
I am not racist nor offended. Knowing Bob this does not suprise me.


I loved it everybody loved it just tryin to cya


Bob reminds of those oldsters from the airport. Selfish & out of touch.


And KURTje shows his bias that leads to stereotyping and that leads to the type of thinking that allows racism to continue.
Also know as knee jerk reactive thinking, if you can really call it thinking.
It is really just thoughtless reaction. Something he has shown many times when posting.

Kottage Kat

Stuart is tattle tale. He needs to put on his big boy knickers. It is satire folks, a hundred years from now it won't matter. It makes Bob human just like the rest of us.


Right......skip the petty b.s.

former local

It's not something you do when you are a pubic official. This something someone who has been in office as long as he has should know. No excuses for a very poor decision. A public apology at a council meeting is in order.


This was not a PUBLIC action. A private email sent by someone to his PRIVATE email friend/aquaintence list that was used against someone is not a public matter. This guy got thrown under the bus for someone's personal amusement. He needs to really take a close look at his email buddies.


I wonder if all the Tea Baggers and GOP apologists would feel the same about an e-mail criticizing Ronald Reagan and his Trickle Down Depression we're all trying to survive. Of course, the Tea Baggers and Republibags are doing just fine after 30 years of tax cuts for them and deregulation that allows all the foxes to guard the hen house. After destroying our economy, we're all suppose to laugh at their "innocent" racist humor.


The one that usually cries racism is the racists. There is bigotry everywhere in this country and you dam well know it.Protestants don't like Catholics,they still think they worship idols.The Masons are out to destroy the Catholic Church. You don't like who your son married,Dums don't like Repubs,it's all BS. No one even cares about the truth or take the time to find it out. You don't want to know The Truth.


well where do I begin, lets start with the teabagger comment, more name calling, which brings so much credibility to your argument, apologists? msnbc has had a rash of "apologists" as of late for making fun of different people like the Romney family adopting a black baby. We can do this all night, but the fact is the left has made a living being race baiters for quite some time and the evidence is overwhelming. Now the economics part, clintons deregulation of the banks caused the housing crash as well as his signing of nafta. and before you get all huffy bush was also a problem economically as well. Now we have the liar and chief who just drove the wooden spike through the heart of america with obamacare. Did I leave anything out?


Don't hold your breath waiting for a logical reply from the left, although you gotta give 'em credit, they know who butters their biscuit. Pandering to the "minorities" via race baiting and get everyone on the gubbermint dole equals job security for the Socialist (i.e. Democratic) Party.


Just 9-11.