Bloomington Council appoints De Urban to Ward 6 seat

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — The vacant Ward 6 seat for Bloomington’s City Council is now filled.

Monday night, Council voted 5 to 4 to appoint Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe’s nomination of De Urban to the open seat.

Urban, is a resident of Ward 6 and a small business owner in downtown Bloomington. She is also a member of the board of directors of the West Bloomington Revitalization Project.

Urban is filling the seat following former Ward 6 representative, Jenn Carrillo’s resignation, following her moving outside the ward.

The mayor said he supported Urban’s appointment because she’s been involved in the community and has shown an interest in city affairs.

Council members split on the vote. Ward 1 councilmember Jamie Mathy said he liked Urban personally but did not support her nomination due to her not being aligned with what Ward 6 voters voted into office in 2019.

Councilmembers, Mollie Ward, Jeff Crabill, and Julie Emig also voted no on Urban’s nomination, while Nick Becker, Donna Boelen, Sheila Montney, and Tom Crumpler voted yes. Mwialmbwe was the tie-breaking vote.

Before the meeting, Crabill posted to his official alderman page that he’d be voting no on Urban due to her not aligning with Carrillo’s agenda and said more progressive applicants were not considered.

Many spoke out in opposition to Urban’s nomination due to her being “more conservative” than her predecessor, Jenn Carrillo. Calling the nomination a “shameful and pathetic attempt to overrule the voters of Ward 6.”

Matt Toczko said it was a “travesty” that the mayor nominated Urban to the spot.

“It is a mockery of democracy and our entire representative system,” Toczko said.

Toczko said Urban’s views on policing, marijuana and other issues don’t align with anything Ward 6 voters chose in Carrillo.

“Ward 6 elected a socialist, they elected a Black Lives Matter, pro-pot socialist to represent them in a fair and just election,” Toczko said.

Kelly Tyson, another Ward 6 resident accused the mayor of playing politics in his decision to appease more conservative members of the city council.

“Appointing a conservative to an already conservative leaning council specially to replace a champion of conservative values is a slap in the face to the constituents of Ward 6,” Tyson said.

Carrillo herself commented virtually Monday and said she’s “disappointed” with the mayor and claimed Mwilambwe purposely left her out of the decision-making process. She said Ward 6 voted in someone in 2019 who “looked like them” and was “unapologetically progressive” and described Urban as a “radical opposite” of that.

Mwilambwe said the process dragged on longer than he would have liked, but believes Urban is the best fit because she’s involved with her community and shows an interest in city issues.

“To me, it is her humility and her ability to remain calm even when things seemed to not go her way that she is the right person to fill the seat,” Mwilambwe said.

Urban spoke briefly before her swearing-in and said she’s not in this for the politics, but is wanting to be the voice for Ward 6 voters and residents.

“Where I stand is with my people of ward 6, those of us that are a flat tire away from poverty,” Urban said. “This is not a political game for me, it is about these people (Ward 6 public commenters) whether they like me or not.”

Urban will serve the rest of Carrillo’s term, which is about 18 months.

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