The Register learned on Friday that Bob Carleton, an elected councilman serving Norwalk for almost 20 years, sent an emailin December containing offensive and disparaging remarks about blacks, women and Hispanics.
Carleton — who obtained the email from someone else and forwarded it to friends and colleagues — said he did not see the email as being offensive when he sent it, thinking it was a harmless joke.
The Register on Saturday visited various spots in Norwalk, such as Sheri’s Coffee House, asking people how they perceivedCarleton’s message and resulting response.
Almost everyone interviewed, including some of Carleton’s constituents, found the email crude, distasteful and tragic.
“I don’t know why he would send this,” Milan resident Tyler Voltz said. “It’s not appropriate. This should not be coming from a city councilman. I wouldn’t take him as seriously if he admitted to doing this type of stuff”
Said Townsend Township resident Susan Hamons: “It’s not right. As a representative of this community, you should not be joking about things like this”
Carleton’s message projects a poor reflection of himself and what he finds amusing, Norwalk resident Brittney Lesch said. “This is not OK in my book,” Lesch said. “This is not what I would want taught to my children. It’s sad. It’s very biased and very racial” Carleton said he’s not a racist and in hindsight regrets sending the email. But spreading a message like this proves he has a racist view, said Jim Jackson, president of the NAACP’s chapter in Sandusky.
“This is an individual using the premise of a joke to actually pass on what he truly believes,” Jackson said. “That’s sad, and even more so that he’s a public official. A lot of times, when individuals pass something like this off as a joke, they actually believe the contents of the joke”
Norwalk city council is scheduled to convene Monday for an organizational meeting. It’s not known whether they’ll discuss this email in public session or not.
Jackson said Carleton must face the ramifications for his “ignorant actions”
“Whoever is over this individual needs to censure him and to say ‘something has to be done,’” Jackson said. “Since he didn’t know this was wrong, some type of punishment should be enforced to let him know that this type of thinking is not proper”