2013-09-19 / Opinion

Welcome Fall


Autumn days come quickly, like the running of a hound on the moor.

- Irish proverb

The sun rose at 6:28 Wednesday morning, and set at 6:51 in the evening, giving us a fleeting 12 hours and 23 minutes of sunlight.

On Sunday, autumn arrives across the Northern Hemisphere and with it, a slower pace.

Beginning next week, the moon will linger longer than the sun; our days will become colder; and our landscape will wash over in color. Fall in New England is indeed a special time, and for those who relish this gentle season, there is something comforting about the transition between summer and winter.

For literary types, it’s somehow easier to envision a Melville, Hawthorne, or Thoreau penning their best works in the chill of fall than during the long, hot days of summer. (Twain’s narratives, on the other hand, seem to luxuriate in the heat, while Hemingway’s exude a certain exoticism far removed from our Yankee traditions.)

On the water, oyster beds and scallops will approach their peak, just as the activity in the harbor begins to wane.

Across the city, construction projects – both residential and municipal – provide new chords to the din of the season. And the rhythm of the school day has once again provided a measure of structure to family life.

At City Hall, there is also a bit of an ebb in daily activity. With the budget now in place and elections still a year off, these few months offer an ideal time for members of the City Council to prioritize, prod, and put forward policy initiatives that could have real meaningful impact on how our city works.

One of those topics was broached last week by Second Ward Councilor Justin McLaughlin. Saying that there are some noticeable “rough edges” in some of the ordinances governing the city’s entertainment licenses, he suggested a review to smooth things out. A similar review is currently underway concerning the city’s waterfront ordinances, and as was discussed last week, there is also movement afoot to take a second look at how the city assesses some of its privately operated affordable housing complexes.

Next week, the council will consider a resolution put forth by Councilor Naomi Neville that aims to establish a formal structure to the council’s strategic planning process. Employed by the council at their discretion several times over the last 10 years, these strategic planning sessions have laid the groundwork for city initiatives ranging from infrastructure repairs to regionalization.

In the past, these sessions have proved rather productive, with new ideas germinating into explicit policies and action items.

For our forebears, fall was a season of work and of harvest. It’s for that reason that we hope the council commits itself to revisiting these long-term planning efforts this year, so that in the next, we’ll be able to reap a bounty of new ideas.

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