By Howard Packowitz
BLOOMINGTON – A closed-door meeting Tuesday night between Bloomington City Council member Jenn Carrillo and downtown business owners led to an agreement for a united front to revitalize the area.
The meeting was called amid complaints Carrillo was too heavy-handed in social media comments convincing a new downtown business to pick a name other than The Gypsy Room because she said it’s racially offensive.
The session lasted more than an hour, but apparently got off to a difficult start. About a half-dozen frustrated people left the meeting early, including De Urban of Alley Kats Art and Antiques, who said Carrillo was not taking responsibility for her actions.
“We wanted her to take responsibility for attacking an innocent business from Downtown Bloomington,” said Urban.
“She’s not taking accountability. She’s not taking responsibility. She’s in there lying,” said Urban.
Calmer attitudes prevailed later, according to Bloomington Spice Works co-owner Ruben Granados, just 24 hours after he blasted Carrillo’s actions at a city council meeting.
“At the end of the day, we all came together. I really wish all those ladies would have stayed because we moved into a position that I wish they would been here for,” Granados said.
“We don’t need a shadow over Bloomington, especially Downtown Bloomington.”
Carrillo said she apologized for how she handled the situation.
“I am sorry that I didn’t handle this in a different way because I think I missed an opportunity to connect with the two women who are looking to open a business downtown, which we definitely want to encourage.”
For better or worse, Carrillo said she’s a fighter.
“That’s where I come from. Those are my roots, but that doesn’t mean that is the way to handle every situation,” Carrillo said.
“So this is a learning opportunity for me, and I’m excited that folks had the kindness and patience to sit with me, and to share their thoughts with me. I think we can all move forward together,” said Carrillo.
The owners of the unnamed new business in the 300 block of North Center Street did not attend Tuesday night’s meeting.
Howard Packowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org