Saturday, February 3, 2007

Order your lawn signs NOW!

Yes, my lawn signs are here - help spread the good word and share the vision! Signs are available at the Mad Hatter - southeast corner of 16th Avenue North and North Dixie Hwy. Just step in and they are stored on the back patio.

If that is inconvenient, you can call me at 308 0364, e-mail me at or respond to this post with your address. In your message, let me know the number of signs that you need.

Thanks again for the warm out-pouring of support. Your encouragement gives me strength of purpose on the campaign trail.

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

"We Love Lake Worth" Party - Friday, 2/9/07 at the Mad Hatter - Starting at 7 p.m.

Join your friends and neighbors as we celebrate our love for Lake Worth. With Valentine's Day on the horizon, what better time to gather and rally around our shared love of our City. You can think of it as a little patriotism, at the municipal level. We all know that our City has taken its lumps and bumps, having the bruises to show for it. Time to administer a little TLC.

And what better way to demonstrate that love other than to have candidates for our March election be invited to participate, talk and meet the people they will be representing should they prevail on March 13th. All the candidates are invited. This really will be an opportunity to meet and greet the candidates present there. Mics will be provided, but there really will be no structured presentation - just a friendly mixing and mingling.

Thanks to Broward and Kelley, owners of the Mad Hatter Lounge for opening their doors for this community event. There will be some tasty treats, Valentine's decorations (which are already starting to sprout) and a good time.

I look forward to seeing and speaking with you about the lovely future in store for the City of Lake Worth.

The Mad Hatter is located on the S/E corner of 16th Avenue N. and N. Dixie Hwy.

In honor of this event, enjoy some Valentine's cards from the early 20th Century - about the time our City was born.

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

Chance Meeting...

Funny story. About two days ago now, I was minding my own business walking my dogs down Federal Highway (I guess we were actually taking care of their business - ha!). Anyway, a gentleman was walking north on the opposite side of the street as we were walking south. Upon seeing me, he crosses the street and introduces himself. He had just read this blog, read about my dogs and was going to check out where I lived. Well, in the process, he stumbled upon the whole family. We had a nice conversation. He is from the mid-west as well (Oak Park, Illinois) and has been active in historic preservation activities there. He has invested in properties in West Palm Beach, but knew that Lake Worth was really where it was at. It had a sense of place, a history and was being kind to its roots and heritage.

As we were talking, wouldn't you know we bumped into Jeff Clemens (who was running around with his campaign's yard signs). All three (err, five) of us had a nice exchange, Jeff left and Warren walked back with us to the house. The following is an e-mail from Warren sent after our meeting:

Hi Wes,

I still can't believe the timing of running into you today.
Meeting you and Jeff in the same short period had a real "meant to be" quality about it. Ordinarily, it wouldn't be like me to display signage for a candidate without learning more about their positions, but meeting both of you at the same time convinced me the Midwestern God's had spoken. Besides, not only did I discover that both of you have the good judgment to live in the right neighborhood, you both chose homes on the right side of the street! I could
never support a candidate whose front door bakes in the Sun all day long.

Seriously, I've tried to do my homework about you and the other candidates as best I can. I'm limited to the amount of time I can spend reading (due to a medical condition I have with my eyes), but talking with you two today
encouraged me that neither one of you embraces the idea of over-developing Lake Worth. I have a very urban consciousness, but I get concerned when I see too
many multi-family projects being approved. I understand the concept of population growth to support tax-generating commercial development, but these mega-projects threaten to over-burden the roads, dilute single-family property
values, and destroy the basic character of Lake Worth. I won't make the mistake of investing my time or energy in a town whose leadership lacks the sophistication to understand that.

I hope we'll have another chance to talk sometime. I saw some of those old post cards on your web site that showed the original Lake Worth Casino, and wondered if recreating something like that is what's being talked about over on the beach front. I just assumed "casino" meant gambling, and development meant "high-rise", but the opulent structure pictured in your post cards gave Lake Worth something priceless..... An IDENTITY.

Thank you for spending so much time with me today,

Warren Stewart
1828 N. K Street
And, my response:

Thanks Warren and nice to meet you too. Serendipity as it were. Yes, the original casino building had some interesting architecture, but happened to be in a very vulnerable position as it relates to storms, etc. The plan is to emulate the building, but not be a replica. We haven't seen the final plans for the building yet, but they should be moving forward during the later part of the

And thanks for your assessment regarding Jeff and me. I'd really like to keep up a dialog with you and keep you informed on happenings, etc. Thanks also for displaying my sign and I am sure that Jeff appreciates that too.


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

Positive Preliminary Reaction to the EAR

You know, in the midst of what seems like a never ending stream of bad news coming from 7 N. Dixie Hwy, it's nice to hear some good news for a change. The first results related to the saga of our Evaluation and Appraisal Report - EAR (a report required to be submitted to the State of Florida every 7 years that discusses how the City is performing related to its Master Plan). are in and they are POSITIVE!

At the January 16 meeting of the City Commission, the Commission voted 3-2 (Jennings, Drautz dissenting) to send the EAR to the State Department of Community Affairs. Along with the EAR, the land use change requests regarding the establishment of the Beach and Casino future land use district and another project related land use plan change were transmitted as well.

As part of the State review process, all Comprehensive Plan related matters are forwarded to Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council for their comments and those comments are then forwarded to Tallahassee.

The following letter represents Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council's take on our EAR:

You might remember at the January 16 meeting, before the vote on this item, Commissioner Jennings and Mayor Drautz made a big deal about this being "rushed through" and the Mayor said something to the effect of "Here we go again, Lake Worth sending up another incomplete document". It was almost as if he would relish the news that our EAR was incomplete - confirming his suspicions, whatever they are.

You can click on the above letter to see it in greater detail. If you are unable to on your computer, the following is a quote from the letter:

"...we have reviewed the Evaluation and Appraisal
Report (EAR) adopted by the City of Lake Worth on January 16, 2007. The City has done a very thorough job in preparing the EAR, including the incorporation of the results of the recent City-driven visioning and strategic master planning process."

So, the first step in the review process is complete and under review by the Department of Community Affairs. Our EAR, although late (a plight shared by many communities throughout the state), did the job that it was supposed to do and is being favorably received by reviewers. We, as all municipalities in Palm Beach County must do, will continue to address workforce housing issues as mentioned later in the letter.

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

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Notes and Updates...

Got some good news to report. First of all, I'd like to let you all know that this blog is getting visited! According to Jim Stafford of, this site ranks as the third highest in referrals to his site - behind those that log in directly (bookmarked) and second are those that come from Google searches. I don't have tracking software on this blog, but that means that over 200 people visit my site and then go to Lake Worth Talk - this over a period of a week. Interesting. So, my words are getting out and hope that in the process you are getting to know me better.

To catch up on some other happenings, I attended last Friday night's meeting concerning the selection of an interim City Manager by the City Commission. The chambers were noticeably empty of the usual attendees - perhaps they were listening at home on the Internet? The Commission selected Robert Baldwin who is City Manager for Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. He has a clause in his contract that allows him to consult with other cities for 10 months out of a year and he is going to use that to help us out in the interim. Meanwhile, Colin Baesinger is advertising for the permanent position and the Commission approved an advertisement. Colin thinks that by mid-April, the City will be ready to appoint a new City Manager. So, we are off to the races. Let's hope that he yields a lot of qualified applicants.

I also attended yesterday's Commission workshop regarding the Town of Jupiter's Day Labor Center. It was a presentation put on by Jupiter's Town Manager - now there is someone with the skills we need. If we are able to get applicants like him for our City Manager position, we really will be on our way to a new Lake Worth. The Day Labor Center concept is something we definitely need to look at and this was a good first step.

And it should be noted that neither of my opponents for the District #3 race were in attendance at either meeting.

Over the weekend, I worked at the book sale held by the Friends of the Lake Worth Library on Saturday. Co-chairs of the even were June Evans and Drew Martin. Yes, that's right. It's nice to know that even though we are running against each other in the Commission race that it's still possible to volunteer for the betterment of the community. Thanks Drew and June for the opportunity to help.

I am also walking neighborhoods now and on Sunday, Jim and Jo Ann Kelly helped out with part of the southeast part of the City. Thanks guys.

As you know, I have my hand-bills now and lapel stickers came in today. Tomorrow I expect to receive my lawn signs and I will give you updates when they come in for sure.

Last night, I participated in the candidate debate held by the Bryant Park Neighborhood Association. It was at the Chamber of Commerce building - on the patio. The temperature might have been in the 50s out there. Thanks to everyone who worked to put on the debate and those that took time out of their schedules to attend. The format concerned me when I first learned about it, but it went o.k. after all and I hope that the other forums can use the same format - 1 min for introduction, 5 minutes total to answer questions (they held up cards to let you know where you were in your time budget as you answered questions) and 1 minute to close. It went well and this was the first time all of the candidates were assembled together to address the issues facing the City. I was a little disappointed in the general nature of the PB Post article today, but there will be others. We will also each be interviewed by the PB Post's editorial staff prior to their endorsement.

That's all for now. The next forum will be next Thursday at Brogue's - that one is being put on by the Lake Worth Democratic Club and is for Commission candidates only. They will be having one in March for the Mayoral race.

Thanks again for coming to visit my blog! Remember, you can respond here to a post. You can also e-mail me at

Remember, check "Wes" on March 13th!!

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

Sunday, January 28, 2007

New Hand Bill

Thought that you would like to see the latest hand bill. Look for these at your door soon. My friends and I will be making it through the neighborhoods leading up to the election. I am looking forward to chatting with you, sharing my vision for Lake Worth and hearing your ideas/concerns about the direction of our City.

Note that the "real" - not virtual - hand bill has a picture of yours truly in the white box. Let me know if you would like a stack of these for your place of business or some extras to hand out to your friends!

Thanks again. If I haven't done so already, I am looking forward to meeting you soon.

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