Councilor's emails criticized as 'unprofessional'
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Saturday, August 04, 2012
8/04/12 at 8:32 AM
Read the email sent to Councilor Tom Mansur and his response.
Read continuing coverage of
Tulsa’s City Council.
Two Tulsa residents who are concerned about a chemical the city is using to disinfectant its drinking water say City Councilor Tom Mansur was rude and dismissive in his email communications about the issue.
"I thought it was very unprofessional," Victoria Clark said.
She and Roberta Clark - who are not related - have signed an online petition asking the city to stop treating the water with chloramine, citing safety concerns.
The email that triggered their frustration was written July 29 by Mansur to an out-of-state resident who had contacted him about the chloramine use.
Mansur wrote: "Your concerns are unfounded. Given your passion perhaps you could devote your energies to ending child abuse, teen pregnancy, violent crime, world hunger, unemployment or urban sprawl."
That email was forwarded to Victoria Clark and Roberta Clark and other Tulsans, leading to an email exchange between Victoria Clark and Mansur.
"The greater issue is not listening to his constituents, blowing them off, thinking he knows all about it and not even reading what they send him," Victoria Clark said.
That behavior "won't be tolerated" by the residents of his district, she added.
In an email to Victoria Clark - and again Thursday - Mansur said it was not his intention to be snide or rude.
"She deduced from that because I did not respond to her email in detail, it was rude," Mansur said.
In the email to the out-of-state resident, Mansur said, he was simply trying to say "let's try to focus on something that I considered more important."
Roberta Clark called Mansur's email rude, adding, "It's like they all know better than anybody."
Mansur said part of the problem stemmed from communicating by email instead of face-to-face or by telephone, a point he also made in an email to Victoria Clark, explaining that he found nothing sarcastic or condescending in his original email.
"The only way one could find it so is to insert one's own presuppositions about me in the context or miraculously divine my intent without having attempted a civil conversation in person," he wrote.
Mansur stressed his support of the city's use of the new disinfectant.
"The city of Tulsa has studied it thoroughly, and I am convinced that the science there backs up the prudent thing that we are doing," he said.
City officials say they had to add the chemical to the water treatment system or face financial penalties for noncompliance after new standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency went into effect this year.
According to the city, chloramine-treated water is safe for people, but fish owners will need to buy new neutralizing agents because traditional cleaners remove only chlorine from water.
Chloramine, like chlorine, has to be removed from the water before it's used in dialysis machines, as well.
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313
City Councilor Tom Mansur: He said it was not his intention to be rude or snide