"This town needs an enema." Jack Nicholson as the Joker in Batman (1989)
It is somewhat ironic that the main meeting place in the town of Dracut is called Harmony Hall.
Is there a less harmonious town government than Dracut's?
Sure, Billerica is making a run at the crown, but actions in the border town to Lowell's north leading up to, during and in the days after last Monday's town election have showed that Dracut officials are not quite ready to concede the title.
Where do we begin? Some feuds in this town go so far back, it's often difficult to determine who's on which side.
But let's start with Brian Bond.
He had to change his party affiliation to be appointed to the Dracut Housing Authority by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick a few years ago.
But Bond, who already had a reputation as a hard-nosed, tough-as-nails fighter (one colleague on the DHA, Russ Taylor, calls him a "bully" -- more on Taylor in a moment), did nothing to discourage that impression when he took the seat a few years back and immediately was perceived as joining an ultimately unsuccessful effort to oust then-new DHA Director Mary Karabatsos.
Bond (like Harmony Hall, a name that seems the antithesis of what it represents) hit a low point -- he may even admit -- after last Monday's election. After losing a bid for an elected spot on the DHA to Jesse Forcier, Bond texted Taylor, who recently underwent successful colon-cancer surgery, that he hopes he dies.
This isn't something he simply uttered in the heat of the moment. He actually had to type it into his phone, then press "send."
To his credit, Bond did the right thing and apologized for his comments in the immediate aftermath, and though he said he won't resign from the DHA, as Taylor and others have suggested, the governor may be hard-pressed to allow Bond to finish out his term, which ends in January. There's now a state investigation.
Then there's the long-running feud between former longtime Selectman Warren Shaw, who comes as close to being mayor of a town that has no mayor, and state Rep. Colleen Garry and, by extension, anyone she supports for elected office in town.
This feud has persisted since 1994, when Garry beat Shaw in the Democratic primary for state rep. In the run-up to last week's election, Shaw pointed out that Garry shares an office with Tami Dristiliaris, who was one of four candidates for two open seats on the Board of Selectmen along with Shaw's handpicked candidate, Alison Hughes.
Apparently, voters were still scratching their heads about how having an office in the same office as the state representative automatically disqualifies one from being elected selectman, because Dristiliaris topped the ticket.
But it's a wash for Shaw. His candidate, Hughes, got in, too, so it's all good.
And this stuff is just the tip of the iceberg. We didn't even get into the harassment order taken out by losing selectman candidate Ted Kosiavelon against the significant other of selectmen Chairman Cathy Richardson three days after the election.
Do Billerica officials take out harassment orders against each other? I don't think so.
So take note, Billerica town officials: You are doing an admirable job of competing for Dracut's title of most acrimonious town government.
But you clearly have a long, long way to go. Best of luck.
Dan Phelps' email address is email@example.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @PhelpsSun.