Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Food for thought...

A good friend of mine sent this via e-mail and I am sharing this here. There are some ideas that apply to our situation in Lake Worth, and elsewhere - sort of our current human social milieu.

The piece below is excerpted from Rob Brezsny's book
How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings"


Let me remind you who you really are: You're an immortal freedom fighter
in service to divine love. You have temporarily taken on the form of a
human being, suffering amnesia about your true origins, in order to
liberate all sentient creatures from suffering and help them claim the
ecstatic awareness that is their birthright. You will accept nothing less
than the miracle of bringing heaven all the way down to earth.

Your task may look impossible. Ignorance and inertia, partially
camouflaged as time-honored morality, seem to surround you. Pessimism
is enshrined as a hallmark of worldliness. Compulsive skepticism
masquerades as perceptiveness. Mean-spirited irony is chic. Stories about
treachery and degradation provoke a visceral thrill in millions of people
who think of themselves as reasonable and smart. Beautiful truths are
suspect and ugly truths are readily believed.

To grapple against these odds, you have to be both a wrathful
insurrectionary and an exuberant lover of life. You've got to cultivate
cheerful buoyancy even as you resist the temptation to swallow
thousands of delusions that have been carefully crafted and seductively
packaged by very self-important people who act as if they know what
they're doing. You have to learn how to stay in a good mood as you
overthrow the sour, puckered hallucination that is mistakenly referred to
as reality.

What can we do to help each other in this work?

First, we can create safe houses to shelter everyone who's devoted to
the slow-motion awakening. These sanctuaries might take the form of
temporary autonomous zones like festivals and parties and workshops,
where we can ritually potentiate the evolving mysteries of pronoia. Or
they might be more enduring autonomous zones like homes and cafes and
businesses where we can get regular practice in freeing ourselves from
the slavery of hatred in all of its many guises.

What else can we do to help each other? We can conspire together to
carry out the agenda that futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard names: to
hospice what's dying and midwife what's being born. We need the trigger
of each other's rebel glee as we kill off every reflex within us that
resonates in harmony with the putrefaction. We need each other's
dauntless cunning as we goad and foment the blooming life forces within
us that thrive on the New World's incandescent questions.

Here's a third way we can collaborate: We can inspire each other to
perpetrate healing mischief, friendly shocks, compassionate tricks,
blasphemous reverence, holy pranks, and crazy wisdom.

What? Huh? What do tricks and mischief and jokes have to do with our
quest? Isn't America in a permanent state of war? Isn't it the most
militarized empire in the history of the world? Hasn't the government's
paranoia about terrorism decimated our civil liberties? Isn't it our duty to
grow more serious and weighty than ever before?

I say it's the perfect moment to take everything less seriously and less
personally and less literally.

Permanent war and the loss of civil liberties are immediate dangers. But
there is an even bigger long-term threat to the fate of the earth, of which
the others are but symptoms: the genocide of the imagination.

Earlier I cited pop nihilist storytellers as vanguard perpetrators of the
genocide of the imagination. But there are other culprits as well: the
fundamentalists. I'm not referring to just the usual suspects—the religious
fanatics of Islam and Christianity and Judaism and Hinduism.

Scientists can be fundamentalists. So can liberals and capitalists, atheists
and hedonists, patriots and anarchists, hippies and goths, you and me.
Those who champion the ideology of materialism can be the most
fanatical fundamentalists of all. And the journalists, filmmakers, novelists,
critics, poets, and other artists who relentlessly generate rotten visions of
the human condition are often pop nihilist fundamentalists.

Every fundamentalist divides the world into two camps, those who agree
with him and like him and help him, and those who don't. There is only
one right way to interpret the world—according to the ideas the
fundamentalist believes to be true—and a million wrong ways.

The fundamental attitude of all fundamentalists is to take everything way
too seriously and way too personally and way too literally. The
untrammeled imagination is taboo. Correct belief is the only virtue. Every
fundamentalist is committed to waging war against the imagination unless
the imagination is enslaved to his or her belief system.

And here's the bad news: Like almost everyone in the world, each of us
has our own share of the fundamentalist virus. It may not be as virulent
and dangerous to the collective welfare as, say, the fundamentalism of
Islamic terrorists or right-wing Christian politicians or CEOs who act as if
making a financial profit is the supreme good or scientists who deny the
existence of the large part of reality that's imperceptible to the five

But still: We are infected, you and I, with fundamentalism. What are we
going to do about it?

I say we practice taking everything less seriously and less personally and
less literally. I suggest we administer plentiful doses of healing mischief,
friendly shocks, compassionate tricks, blasphemous reverence, holy
pranks, and crazy wisdom.

"Political advertisement paid for and approved by Wes Blackman for Commissioner – District #3"

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

In anticipation of Post Article on EAR and Impact to Land Use Plan Change re Beach and Casino District

The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has said to all communities in the State of Florida that they need to have approved Evaluation and Appraisal Reports (EARs - due every 7 years and EARs evaluate how a community meets the goals, objectives and policies in their current Comprehensive Plan) before they review any Future Land Use changes or text amendments. This is a result of recently changed procedures at the State level. We have close to a finished version of the EAR from the Master Plan consultants in our possession now. If you are interested in getting a copy, you can call the Planning Department and they can prepare one for you. I am also working on getting an electronic copy for distribution. The Planning and Zoning Board will be reviewing this document as part of its regular meeting on December 20th (not January 10th - January 10th is the date set for further Planning and Zoning Board special meeting to review of the beach rezoning and creation of the new Beach and Casino zoning district regulations).

The Planning and Zoning Board will review and may make a recommendation to the City Commission, along with whatever suggested changes/edits to the EAR at the meeting on December 20th. The consultants will make any recommended changes between that meeting and the City Commission meeting on January 16th. They can then approve the EAR by resolution. They may also re-affirm their previous action on the two land use plan change requests (beach and Amanzi properties) and then transmit those to DCA. There is no material change to the request, the land use plan change requests just have to be found consistent with the EAR. There is nothing in the EAR which is not consistent with the two land use plan changes (beach and Amanzi properties) and vice versa.

This actually represents a concession on the part of DCA as they usually put off review of an amendment request until it is ultimately adopted - pushing it out to the mid part of next year. They are willing to review the land use plan change requests with submittal (not upon approval) of the EAR..

The EAR eventually will lead to the future adoption of or new Comprehensive Plan that will have the results of the visioning and other community meetings that has been part of the Master Plan process over the past two years.

It's important to realize that even if the EAR had not been raised as an issue by DCA, the second reading on the land use plan change by the City Commission would have been after the March 13th election. By the way, once the Planning and Zoning Board makes a recommendation to the City Commission on the rezoning - subject of its January 10th meeting - the first reading of the rezoning could actually happen before the March 13th election. The second reading of the re-zoning would happen later, at the same time as the second reading of the land use plan change.

Now, about what happens when DCA receives a Comp Plan or Future Land Use plan change. It reviews the change request and issues what is called an "Objections, Recommendations and Comments - ORC" report. Since the land use plan change for the beach represents the inclusion of commercial uses, a traffic study should accompany the request as part of the back-up material.

When the land use plan change is sent up after the Commission's meeting on January 16th, we have an opportunity to send a completed traffic study which shows the effects of the land use plan change with it. Greater Bay or the City needs to contract with a Traffic Engineer now in order for this to be included in the eventual re-submittal. We need to encourage this and emphasize the importance of this to the overall timeline. If the EAR had not been an issue, the lack of a traffic study may have caused a delay in the timeframe to respond to the ORC report issued by DCA - again pushing it farther out in time from the March 13th election. This is an opportunity to address the traffic study now and save time on the critical path.

I have tried to be as detailed and as accurate as possible regarding this complicated and intricate process. If you have any questions, please call me and I can clarify the above. To review, the critical dates are as follows:

December 20th - Planning and Zoning Board meeting to review EAR

January 10th - Planning and Zoning Board meeting to review new draft of the Beach and Casino zoning district

January 16th - City Commission meeting - adoption of EAR by resolution and first reading of beach and Amanzi land use plan changes - transmittal to DCA with traffic study as contracted by Greater Bay or City.

March 13th - Municipal Election

"Political advertisement paid for and approved by Wes Blackman for Commissioner – District #3"

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Catch the essence of my 8 year tenure on the Planning and Zoning Board...

...on the archived "Live Show" hosted by Jim Stafford on Lake Worth Click here to go directly to the feed. I reviewed the major highlights in anticipation of my last meeting on December 20th. Thanks Jim - you are a fine host.

Oh, come by before that meeting - around 5:30 or so - and I understand there will be a reception in the Conference Room in honor of it being my final meeting. Stick around for the meeting too - we have an unusally long agenda and will be dealing with some important issues - including the Evaluation Appraisal Report for our Comprehensive Plan. We will also be deciding the new Planning and Zoning Board chairman - film at 11. Check the City's website for the agenda at the end of the week.

Thank you City of Lake Worth for the opportunity to serve!

"Political advertisement paid for and approved by Wes Blackman for Commissioner – District #3"

Thanks to Colleen and John Rinaldi...

...for hosting my first "meet and greet" today at the Sabal Palm House Bed and Breakfast. What a nice assemblage of people concerned with the future of our City of Lake Worth! We settled into about a 2 hour discussion about the issues facing our City. There are no shortage of issues and I hope those in attendance got a feel for how I would address them as Commissioner. I think we all came away with the conclusion that there is no lack of work to do. You provided some great direction. Thank you for the opportunity and it is through this dialogue that we become the future Lake Worth that we all want to see. I brought my camera, but it stayed in its case - this time. I'll have to come back again and we'll capture some memories.

"Political advertisement paid for and approved by Wes Blackman for Commissioner – District #3"