Saturday, November 7, 2009

Is this a coincidence?

The July 20th City Commission meeting minutes are just NOW (after the election) on the Commission meeting agenda for Monday night. The Sunshine Law says that minutes must be available to the public in a timely manner. Click title for link to full set under consideration Monday night.

This is the meeting where the Commission, led by Commissioner Golden, attempted a takeover of the Community Redevelopment Agency, after it had applied for a $22+ Federal grant. The takeover failed. Commissioner Golden used that application as one of her accomplishments (above) in her campaign materials.

Minutes do not exactly reflect what happened at the meeting. Click here and go to 3:13 minute mark for Commissioner Golden's actual introductory comments. Another key quote related to the $22 million grant occurs at 22:23 minutes.

Some excerpts from the minutes appear below:

Publix Elevations and Site Plan per 11/09 City Commission Packet

Vehicle access will not be permitted by FDOT directly onto Dixie Hwy. Second Avenue North will become a two way street and be the primary access to the property.

Click here for link to NPR story about a downtown grocery store in Syracuse, NY

Listening to this, it's more of an upscale version of what a downtown Publix in Lake Worth would be, but it does point out some of the obstacles that have prevented them from locating in downtown locations. It also identifies some trends that show people are moving into downtowns. Could that be the real issue for some on the dais? The prospect that this would attract people to live in and around our downtown that have disposable income? Is this another anti-gentrification fight?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Election Night Party Slideshow

If we didn't know any better, you would think that I won by looking at these pictures. Thanks to good friends!

Lake Worth Holiday Parade - December 12th

The CRA is collecting new bikes and/or accepting donations so children’s bicycles can be used for the raffle. If you would like to donate please drop off a new bike to the CRA office or make a check payable to the CRA. The deadline for donations is Dec. 10th.

Behind Closed Doors...

Strong-arming local businesses...

I heard a lot of things along the campaign trail. One of the more troubling was the habit by the city administration and members of the City Commission of beating up on local businesses - especially if they do not adhere to the "party line" as expressed by those on the dais. While Commissioner Jennings' attempt to throttle Nature's Way was one of the more blatant attempts (getting the press it deserves), it isn't the only story. There is an establishment that is currently being hounded by the Sheriff and being told that they aren't liked since they don't live in Lake Worth. There is another family member of a business owner who, while in West Palm Beach, received a tap on the shoulder at a late night hot spot. Turns out it was a sister of a prominent Lake Worth City Commissioner. They were told, finger pointing into their chest, that "we don't like you", while the prominent City Commissioner looked on with her hands folded across her chest.

And now, at the 11th and a half hour, we are telling Publix that they have to build a LEED certified building or we won't let them build anything. There is nothing in the code that requires this and nothing has been discussed up to this point. If we are going to require this as a condition of development approval, then codify it - don't be arbitrary and capricious. Someone should perform a study about the number of vehicle trips that would be reduced or eliminated by having a quality destination grocery store in the downtown. I bet the environmental benefit of a location in downtown Lake Worth would be equal to or more than the environmental benefit derived from a LEED certified building.

November City Meetings:

HOT TOPIC: Lake Worth's election

Click title for link to a series of PB Post letters to the editor. One might want to believe in the sincerity of Commissioner Mulvehill's plea for a Mayoral candidate to be "transparent" - but is the other candidate really "transparent" himself? And don't Commissioner Mulvehill and the candidate she doesn't mention have a long-standing personal relationship?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ethics complaint: Lake Worth Commissioner Jennings' shutdown of rival's campaign gathering was an abuse of power

In a sworn statement submitted with the ethics complaint, Dario said he received a phone call from Jennings around 1:30 p.m. Oct. 28, the day of the evening campaign gathering for Maxwell.

"Somewhere in this conversation she had identified herself as Cara Jennings, city commissioner, and said to me that if I was to continue to support Mr. Maxwell she did not want me to continue to run my business in this kind of town," Dario said in the sworn statement. "She didn't want people that would support Maxwell to run a business in Lake Worth."

Dario also said in the statement that Jennings encouraged him to get other business owners to denounce Maxwell and that she would tell other people not to patronize his cafe if he allowed Maxwell to hold a campaign event there.

"It sounded like I was in Russia, that she was telling me who I can and can't rent my store to," Dario said.

Jasmine is strong tonight....

Political Signs

I see that most people with signs in their yards have already taken them up. I think I've gathered most of them, but if there are some that I have missed, let me know and I will drop by and pick them up. Or, if you have one and don't know what to do with it, you can drop it off at my house: 241 Columbia Drive - you can put them in the courtyard on the way to the front door and I will take care of the rest.

Now, about signs in general - my opponent, the day before the election, lined Dixie Hwy with political signs and attached them to trees and poles - anything- with "zip-ties." These were clearly in the public right-of-way, which is not allowed. What it did allow is free publicity for her the day of and the day before the election - save the cost of the sign. This is the same Commissioner that has a problem with businesses using A-frame signs on the sidewalk to promote their business in-doors.

Once the new Commission is in place after the run-off in the Mayor's race, can we draw up new standards and regulations for political campaigns? I'd like to see political signs eliminated period, but I don't know if that is realistic given First Amendment rights, etc. Perhaps this can be done at the same time that the Commission finally gets around to working on a comprehensive ethics ordinance.

Lin Yutang

"I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and its content."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Campaign Reflections...

First of all, thank you to all who supported my campaign to be your City Commissioner for District #3. That support came in many forms - in votes, in dollars, in well-wishes, in emotional support and in time away from other priorities - all with the intention of setting Lake Worth in a better, more resident-responsive direction. We could not have raised the level of awareness about the series of critical issues facing the city without the concerted effort of many active residents in the community. For this, you all must be commended.

Elections are one of the most important events in our democratic, representative form of government. Beyond choosing a person who will sit in a seat of power, they should also allow for active debate on critical issues. It should signal a community's success or failure in meeting the challenges it is presented - and set milestones for further progress. Most importantly, it should signal to those already in elected positions the degree to which the voting public is satisfied with the community's direction. Ideally, it should engage the governed in the process of how they will be governed.

Like voting, choosing to run for office is a voluntary act. There is no requirement that you vote and there is no requirement that you enter a political race. By electing to run, you advance your own involvement in our participatory democracy to a new level.

Given the economy and the personal financial condition in which I found myself, I fully expected to elect not to run in this year's election. I had concluded that it was time to focus on survival of self and not go through the distraction that an election causes in one's life - which I had learned more than two and a half years ago.

As the qualifying period ticked away, I became more and more concerned that there was a real possibility that the incumbent District #3 Commissioner would run unopposed. As the deadline inched closer, I thought about how, if that came to pass, the community would be robbed of the opportunity to examine and discuss the actions of the sitting City Commissioner and the general policy direction of the city. Knowing the conditions in which the city finds itself, I could not allow what would essentially be a unanimous endorsement of either.

Yesterday we learned that 42 percent of those that bothered to vote were not satisfied with the direction the city is currently headed and not happy with the decisions being made by the sitting City Commissioner. This is far from a 100 percent endorsement that an uncontested race would have indicated.

The challenge now is keeping those issues and ideas raised in the campaign alive in our on-going community debate. This is where I think our local political system breaks down. I am afraid that those currently in power will see this as the equivalent of an uncontested race - when it was really very far from it. There are many angry residents living in our city that are frustrated about some very basic and essential issues - the price of our electric and water, the City Commission acting out a self-serving agenda - creating a city whose citizens feel disenfranchised from the decision-making process.

So, there are still many things that we can do to improve the conditions we find in our city without the assistance of yours truly being on the dais. We can recommit to our neighborhood associations and demand that the city provide timely and accurate information about what is going on in City Hall. We can get to know other members of our community and other areas of the city that we don't know very well. We can let our elected officials know how we feel on a continual basis - not just every election time.

Since the election. most people - from many divergent political views - encourage me to continue what I have been doing. At this point in time, I plan on doing just that. As we all know, one never is certain what the future will bring but let's think of this experience we just shared as one more layer in a new foundation for the City of Lake Worth.

Lake Worth cannot be re-built in a day, or in one election - it has to be a continual effort.

Election Results

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

John Adams, 'Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials,' December 1770
US diplomat & politician (1735 - 1826)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

42 percent and change to 57 percent and change - Congratulations Commissioner Golden.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Tomorrow is the day we determine the future of Lake Worth - more sneaky daytime meetings or encouraging the public to participate when they are able; continuation of the "Fortress Lake Worth" mentality or timely, accurate information coming from City Hall; hostile customer service or helpful customer service - if you like a new way of doing business here, vote for me Tuesday - you won't be disappointed!
Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved by Wes Blackman for City Commissioner District #3

Click here for New Times Interview - Wes Blackman on Immigration and the Lake Worth Resource Center

Good summary of a rather lengthy telephone conversation with Gail Shepherd, Lake Worth resident and blogger for New Times. The chat took place last week. Let me know if you have any questions about my position. The main points are that I support the concept of the center, but would like to find a long-term home for it that better meets its operational needs and one that doesn't utilize a city recreational facility. I've pledged my skills as an urban planner to bring that about. I would also respect the existing lease the center has with the city when elected. And, my biggest issue is to make sure that it serves all communities in Lake Worth - like the Haitian community, for example.

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


Final push is on - many walking and waving signs, been on the phone chatting and leaving messages about our campaign. This election is about preserving debate and the democratic process, opening up new channels of communication between the city and its residents - it's about putting an independent voice on the City Commission. Please come out and vote for "Wes" on Tuesday! Tell your Lake Worth friends and neighbors!
Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved by Wes Blackman for City Commissioner District #3

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Welcome New Visitors!

New visitor stats are OFF THE CHARTS! Thanks for picking up the links from the various mailings. Don't be afraid of the search function in the upper left hand corner - it's your friend. It will help you understand the ominous situation in which the City of Lake Worth finds itself. Vote wisely, vote "Wes" :)

Another busy day - final push is on!

Been on the phone lines today - support is there, you just never know until Election Day and the vote is taken. E-mail the campaign at if you can work the polls on Tuesday or can wave signs Monday morning and evening.

Very important - talk to your neighbors, tell them who you are supporting. If you need me to talk with them, let me know via e-mail and I will follow up. Thanks for all the hard work on the City's future potential - that's what this election will come down to!

E-mail Fixed

Note: I am now able to receive e-mail at If you had tried to send something yesterday and it was kicked back to you, please re-send. Thanks!