Airing a Couple of Country Grievances in Dracut

By: Brian Genest – Sept. 2018

There’s a lot to love about living in Dracut. I’m not going to talk about any of them in this column. Instead, here’s a rant about things that make this townie even more grouchy than usual.

* Political signs littering the landscape like litter. Some intersections and properties in town are stuffed with dozens and dozens of them. There are signs illegally placed on public property, too. BTW, nothing says your candidate is weak and likely to lose more than putting two signs for them on your front lawn. Thanks for the warning, though.

* The Dracut firefighters union pushing debt exclusions to raise our taxes. Maybe if the firefighters supported a state rep candidate who could actually deliver adequate local aid for our town, they wouldn’t have to support tax increases to build a new fire station. Full disclosure: My father-in-law was a Dracut firefighter and I have tremendous respect for the profession and those who serve our town. When it comes to the politics of the union, not so much.

* McMansions popping up in place of pastures. Also popping up are pushy people who live in them, demanding we cough up a gazillion dollars in funding for the schools. Otherwise, we’re clearly all just cheap, horrible people who hate kids. Those of us in the town’s middle class, including our retirees, clearly can’t keep up with your expectations; please move to Lexington.

* Copper gutters and flashing on Dracut Town Hall. Maybe we should start calling it the Taj Mahal. Meanwhile, there’s not enough money in the town’s $80 million annual budget for anything… Proposed overrides and debt exclusions have become business as usual every couple of years lately.

* The condition of Veterans Memorial Park. The place is a mess, thanks to broken concrete, playground equipment and glass. Not to mention the disgusting black mold on the splash pad. It’s a shame and the town should be ashamed that it has been allowed to fall into such poor condition, especially considering most of the problems can be resolved relatively easily.

* The overpowering stench of cow manure. I’m all for Dracut being a right-to-farm community. But the right to breathe is good, too. Early last month, it smelled disgusting in my backyard for a couple of days. During the recent heatwave, you couldn’t even go outside without gagging it reeked so badly. A load of bull crap, indeed!

* The smell of weed pouring out of cars when I’m out for a walk. Does every other person in town smoke pot? Whatever, man… Just stop doing it while you’re behind the wheel of your car!

* Empty nip bottles scattered all over the side of the roads. How much Fireball and peppermint schnapps can one town drink? Seriously, there are empties all over the place, along with cigarette butts, lottery tickets and other trash that motorists apparently toss out their windows.

* The way people drive when dropping their kids off at school. In the morning, these obnoxious drivers with kiddies on board ignore the lines on Lakeview Avenue and try to make it two lanes, so they can turn right into the school complex without waiting in traffic caused by the light. Teach your kids two lessons: Leave 5 minutes earlier and follow the rules of the road.

* Colleen Garry’s disregard for following the rules. Whether it’s driving around for 6 months with an expired inspection sticker on her car, not filing her state income taxes two years in a row or being fined $5,000 for failing to follow the campaign finance laws for many years, she does her own thing. Considering she makes the laws for all of us, wouldn’t it be nice if she followed them herself?
* Fourth of July fireworks being shot off on August 30th. Yes, they were awesome and I understand they had to be rescheduled because of rain.

If the town wanted to wait two months, why not wait just one more day and make it an event for Labor Day weekend?

* Delivery people, door-to-door salesmen and condo folks with dogs who walk on my front lawn. My grass isn’t a public park; it’s private property. Kindly stay the hell off it, so I don’t have to yell at you.

* The same door-to-door salesmen who ring my doorbell twice. Or three times. Or more. Just because you saw me sitting at the kitchen table doesn’t mean I’m going to open the door. Unless I have to yell at you for walking on my lawn, of course. But thanks for stopping by.

Brian Genest is chairman of the Dracut Republican Town Committee. A marketing and communications expert with 20 years of success driving growth, maximizing ROI and boosting profits for consumer and high-tech brands, he has developed and executed strategic initiatives for a range of disruptive technologies, including robots, mobile commerce solutions and SaaS products. Earlier in his career, Genest worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for the Dracut Dispatch, Derry News and Billerica Minuteman.