Saturday, August 29, 2009

Margaret Wheatley - click for link to website "Turning to one another"

"When we seek for connection, we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other."

"There is a simpler, finer way to organize human endeavor. I have declared this for many years and seen it to be true in many places. This simpler way is demonstrated to us in daily life, not the life we see on the news with its unending stories of human grief and horror, but what we feel when we experience a sense of life’s deep harmony, beauty, and power, of how we feel when we see people helping each other, when we feel creative, when we know we’re making a difference, when life feels purposeful."

"Over many years of work all over the world, I've learned that if we organize in the same way that the rest of life does, we develop the skills we need: we become resilient, adaptive, aware, and creative. We enjoy working together. And life’s processes work everywhere, no matter the culture, group, or person, because these are basic dynamics shared by all living beings."

"Western cultural views of how best to organize and lead (now the methods most used in the world) are contrary to what life teaches. Leaders use control and imposition rather than participative, self-organizing processes. They react to uncertainty and chaos by tightening already feeble controls, rather than engaging people's best capacities to learn and adapt. In doing so, they only create more chaos. Leaders incite primitive emotions of fear, scarcity, and self-interest to get people to do their work, rather than the more noble human traits of cooperation, caring, and generosity. This has led to this difficult time, when nothing seems to work as we want it to, when too many of us feel frustrated, disengaged, and anxious."

"There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about."

Her books include:

  • A Simpler Way (coauthored with Myron Kellner-Rogers, 1996)
  • Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World (1999, 2006)
  • Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future (2002)
  • Finding Our Way: Leadership For an Uncertain Time (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2005)

From Ted Kennedy's Celebration of Life Service

FYI - New Campaign E-mail Address

For campaign information and requests, please use the following e-mail address:

The address will remain active and can be used for all other communication.

Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved by Wes Blackman for City Commissioner District #3

Three dead in Lake Worth shooting

This incident at 14th Avenue South and D last night - click title for link to PB Post article.

Taken yesterday in front of John G's; what they tell their customers about the building...

This is the "beautiful architectural rendition of the original 1920s building" to which they refer.

Friday, August 28, 2009

WARNING: We blocked a virus that was sent to you (by the City of Lake Worth!)

So says Gmail's virus catcher. And guess who the e-mail was from? None other than our own City of Lake Worth. See above - please be careful if you use an older computer or do not have web-based e-mail. This is HIGHLY irresponsible on the part of the city. And, it is something that almost never happens with e-mails sent by anyone!

One of the chief concepts behind "branding" - something that our Commission talks about - is that everything your organization does should reflect a morsel of that core "branding" message.

What does this say to every media outlet that receives this virus-filled email? That the City of Lake Worth doesn't know what they are doing, that no one is in charge and that it's dangerous to do business with them. This is exactly the same message that is sent through the City Commission or the City Administration actions or inactions - at least we are being consistent with our "branding" message.

But there is so much more that we could be if we demanded excellence and had, in this case, just a little more tech-savvy City Commission. There also seems to be a bias against digital communication - however green it is compared to the printed word - that it somehow only informs the elites due to the digital divide. The antidote to that attitude is to make sure that people that do not have access to computers be given the opportunity to obtain that access - which is one of the good things that the Resource Center is doing. Compass has a fantastic Cyber Center that is open to the public and the library is another good public resource for free Internet and computer access.

By the way, the City sent out another replacement e-mail on the same topic and included a "no virus" tag at the end of the subject line. That's kind of like shaking someone's hand and saying, "It's o.k., I don't have typhoid fever."
Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved by Wes Blackman for City Commissioner District #3

2006 Lake Worth shooting linked to Top 6 gang member

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beat the Increase! Tax Collector Extends Hours to Help Clients Save Money

Tax Collector Anne M. Gannon is extending service center hours to accommodate clients who want to renew their tags before the fees increase on Tuesday, September 1. All Tax Collector service centers will be open an additional hour, until 6 p.m., on Friday, August 28 and Monday, August 31. All vehicle and boat owners with birthdays between now and the end of November can renew by August 31.

Tax Collector Gannon explained the effort to help clients save money, “These increases are significant - 35 – 60% in some cases - and the people impacted the most are those tied to their jobs from early in the morning until 5pm. We want to help those who need it most, save money before the fees increase.” Clients are encouraged to renew their registrations for 2 years to avoid increases until 2011.

Tax Collector Gannon also encourages tax payers to pay on-line at For vehicle owners renewing by mail, payments must be postmarked by August 31, 2009.

The Florida Legislature increased fees to address a $6 Billion budget deficit. These fees fund the State of Florida’s budget; they are not local Palm Beach County fees.

Wes on Customer Service:

Improve Customer Service:
  • Focus on utilities customer service and building/code enforcement;
  • Eliminate "us against them" attitude;
  • Ultimate Goal - make doing business with Lake Worth a pleasure and then telling the world about it.
Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved by Wes Blackman for City Commissioner District #3

Don't try to pay your Lake Worth utility bill on line today - the system is down or maybe not?

It turns out that after I hit submit once my credit card information was in, I got the above message. Then I tried it again and got the same message. So, I went down to Utilities Customer Service to pay in person and was told that the on-line payment had registered twice. They backed one of the payments out.

Beware of this problem - wasn't the system down over the weekend for maintenance? Did they forget to turn off the message alerting people to that fact? Does anything surprise us anymore?

Lake Worth Lagoon Muck Monster on Letterman

Lake Worth takes back zoning, land-use changes that would have allowed townhouses on Sunset Drive property

Click title for link to PB Post article. An excerpt:
"This is not a solution," said John Lang, one of the partners in Sunset Drive Holdings, whose attorneys said they plan to take legal action against the city. "I can't imagine how you are possibly going to justify your actions to a jury. You are sending a terrible message out to anyone who is considering moving to or investing in Lake Worth."

Lake Worth is about to get more culture

Click title for link to PB Post article - re CRA forgivable loan to Palm Beach County Cultural Council.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A lot happened yesterday...

First the good news: The CRA voted to make a forgivable loan of $700,000 to the Palm Beach County Cultural Council. The Commission chambers were packed with supporter and all were singing praises about the relocation of this group into one of our downtown historic buildings. We will know more about which one specifically within the next few months. This really builds upon our already formidable arts community. Now, we will have the group that "trumpets" the arts and cultural goings-on of Palm Beach County to the entire world right in Lake Worth - a perfect fit. Nice to see lots of familiar faces there last night too. I'm just sorry I wasn't still on the CRA - I would have loved to throw in my vote to add to the unanimous chorus of approval.

Like I said, that was the good news of the day. This is how I spent most of the afternoon. The City Commission had another 1 p.m. daytime meeting that most find difficult to attend. I posted the agenda earlier on here. You can scroll down to the see the contents. My main purpose for attending was to hear and see what the item on the beach was about. As of yesterday morning, the back-up for that item was not available on the website. As it turns out, it may have been. If so, whoever loaded the actual back-up forgot to take out the first sheet that said "Back-up Material Coming." Maybe someone should make a point of checking that from now on.

When I got there, I visited the reception desk (to the left at the top of the stairs) and asked to see the back-up for the meeting. This is always a handy in-case-of-emergency break glass alternative. And, sure enough, there it was, the back-up memo for the beach item with a cover memo dated August 21 - which would have allowed it to be posted on the website.

So, I took a seat in the chambers and a sparse crowd was there - mostly those interested in the Sunset reversal. Presentations were being made by the engineering team respondents ffor the deep injection well project associated with the reverse osmosis plant. Most interesting quote coming from the dais was Commissioner Jennings saying, "I don't think I'm qualified to make this selection." This was echoed by the Mayor when he said he agreed and recalled feeling the same way with the selection of a City Manager. There we are ladies and gentlemen - the crux of our problem exposed.

After the presentations, the Commission re-ordered the agenda so that the public hearings on the Sunset matter could go first. It was not my intention to sit through that, but I did. I will say this: Forgive them for they know not what they do.

Then on to the beach. Mayor Clemens and Commissioner Lowe had left at this point of the meeting - so the three remaining Commissioners were Jennings, Golden and Mulvehill. What was before them was the final site plan for the beach (posted previously), the final list of public improvements and a summary of where the City is in relation to the original interlocal agreement with the County on the $5 million. The long and short of it is that we are ending up with a 628 space parking lot - restripped with new asphalt, some landscaping. About $2 million of the City's original pledge has "been allocated somewhere else" - this said under the breath of City Manager Stanton. As part of this, decal parking would be relegated to Old Bridge Park - which is a goodly walk from across the street west of A1A.

There was much talk amongst the three how this is just a parking lot that eventually may have shade once the landscaping grows in. The 628 spaces is a firm County requirement, verified in a recent meeting with Palm Beach County representatives, including Commissioner Vana. We have to maintain that number of spaces for 30 years, slightly less than forever according to the three Commissioners. They were very upset about the prospect of additional parking being taken out of the "dune" area (on both sides of the picnic pavilion - see site plan.) City Manager Stanton said something vague about in the future she would find a way to make the Casino building financially viable with decked parking - the only time the building came up in discussion from that side of the dais.

I was called upon last to offer public comment. I pointed out that this meeting had been called to order at 1 p.m. with the title on the agenda of "...Other Public Improvements at the Lake Worth Beach" - which in my mind was confusing as what would make up "other" when they were essentially talking about the entire project. If they really wanted to fill a room with people, call a meeting on the beach and book the auditorium at the High School - I have been at such meetings. Sending on this final product during an afternoon meeting is a way of hiding what is going on. I reminded them that most of the discussion related to this "new" beach project has been done during daytime meetings - to which City Manager Stanton later responded that the Charette was on a Saturday and all the other meetings were just a follow up to that (hmmmmm.) I told them that I was concerned about the scaling back of the project and wondered if the public would think of this as a "renovated" Lake Worth beach - with only new asphalt and a restripped parking lot to show for it. I also reminded them that they have not addressed what will happen to the Casino building and how it will relate to the site. And, if everything proceeds as planned, we will have darker asphalt, parking laid out differently and the same dogeared building staring at us. I wondered if at this point is the project even worth doing? I pointed out that it might be a good idea to contact decal permit holders and let them know this is going to happen, etc. I told them it is looking more and more like the County money is in question.

Immediately, Commissioner Jennings said that the Commission should really put this item on their regular meeting agenda for September 1st. She also wants to get representatives from the County to attend - County Commissioner Vana was mentioned. They want to make a plea to be released from the requirement of providing that number of parking spaces. Commissioner Jennings noted: "This is another example of the County telling us what to do." Really? Mention was also made by City Manager Stanton about the difficulty the County has with other matters regarding Lake Worth and that they might be tiring of that. She urged old-fashioned "one-on-ones" with County Commissioners leading up to their decision to amend the contract for the $5 million.

So that is where the beach project sits right now - new surface parking lots paved by County dollars. This project now ranks about 1 or 2 on the 10 point Visionary Scale.


From a year ago- presented at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

City Commission's Plan for the Beach

Mark your calendars for the September 1 Commission meeting. More details to come.

Click here for full back-up for CRA Meeting (8/25) Palm Beach County Cultural Council Item

Yours truly will be receiving a Plaque of Appreciation today....

"Wes Blackman was appointed to the CRA Board June of 2008 since that time he has helped the CRA oversee construction of the 10th Avenue North Gateway Project. He had also assisted with the development of the Cultural Redevelopment Program, the Bicycle Network Plan and the TCRPC Master Plan. He has written articles for the CRA newsletter and presided as Master of Ceremonies for National Small Business Week. His expertise in planning and business background have proven very valuable in the many discussions and decisions the Board undertakes on a regular basis.

In recognition of his time served on the Board, the CRA is proud to present Wes Blackman with a plaque for all his hard work and accomplishments."

Chairman Mark Rickards will also be receiving a Plaque of Appreciation.

Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved by Wes Blackman for City Commissioner District #3

Today's (8/25) City Commission Meeting

Today's agenda above. I plan on attending to hear and hopefully see what is being proposed as the final version of public improvements for the beach. The packet has been available on line since last week, but still nothing available on the beach item as back-up material. And now it's the actual day of the meeting. I suggest electing people to the City Commission who are dedicated to soliciting constructive public input - especially on major decision items like this one. Members of the current Commission don't seem to hold that as a priority. You can be assured that I will demand it as part of my commitment to open government.

And, yet again, another day time meeting...

Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved by Wes Blackman for City Commissioner District #3

Palm Beach County Centennial and Archaeology Talk

The Palm Beach County Planning Congress hosted a talk at the South Florida Water Management District headquarters yesterday which featured Harvey Oyer and Christian Davenport. Harvey Oyer comes from a long time native Palm Beach County family. He talked about the early formation of Palm Beach County and the early settlements in south Florida. He recited the progression from Mosquito County to the present Palm Beach County as we know it today. Christian Davenport, the County's Archaeologist gave a presentation on the 2007 Lake Okeechobee finds when the lake was at record low levels. The range included pottery and related items from around 200 A.D, to more contemporary tourist history and remnants from the 1920s. It turns out that the lake area was the first economically successful region of the County - catfish was a big money maker. All left their traces in the form of physical remains we can study now to give us clues about how those that came before us lived. Both were eye-opening windows to the past.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A growing dream of urban farming: Financier Hantz wants to plant $30M into vacant lots

Being from Michigan originally, I'm interested in the plight of Detroit. Click title for link to article about establishing large scale farming in a formerly urban area - way beyond chickens in the backyard. Such is the state of decay in the city of Detroit that eventually 5,000 acres could be included. Land prices are running about $3,000 an acre. The first stage will consist of 77 acres - property tax issues remain that currently prevent this use from being feasible.

Not recommending this here, but it is an example of the devolution of former urban land into agriculture. We may some day have suburban development that surrounds agricultural lands - what were once major urban centers of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

September City Meetings

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Broken bottle thought to have been used in Lake Worth stabbing

Click title for link to PB Post article. And what was the City Commission doing on Friday night?

Lake Worth bars tour checks: How loud is too loud?

Click title for link to PB Post article. Click here for link to their pictures on line

Man stabbed at Bryant Park in Lake Worth

Man stabbed at Bryant Park in Lake Worth |West Palm Beach News, South Florida Breaking News, Forecast, Video from WPTV

This is not the same incident as the broken bottle stabbing on South F Street. This is one that involved the use of a box cutter to grab someone's wallet at the boat ramp. One of the perpetrators is still at large.