Q.-39. At a September 2005 open house sponsored by the City of Springfield for residents of the Sunshine/Holland Neighborhood, which was held in Holland Elementary School, you addressed the group as a representative of SASS, at which time you presented several suggestions for improving the neighborhood. For this Report, please repeat the points you presented?
A.39. While it is true I attended the meeting, and it appeared I was the only SASS member from our block who did accept the gracious invitation of our city councilman John D. Wylie, I did not represent SASS when I responded to the city's invitation for people to offer suggestions about both how to improve the area and to report problems that needed to be fixed, which Mr. Wylie said should only include problems that could be repaired for under $10,000. Numerous people addressed various drainage problems. The comments I made as a private party were about:
A. HOSPITALITY: Since everyone at the meeting was white, and our greater Sunshine/Holland Neighborhood is also home to people of minorities, I suggested committees like the Welcome Wagon in other cities be established. Congenial comittee members would volunteer to get acquainted with all newcomers, but especially their non-white neighbors, to make them feel welcome, and invite them to participate in neighborhood activities which would include the Neighborhood Watch projects the city was promoting. I said: "I am part Chickasaw Indian, but if I had skin a bit darker, I probably would not be here tonight."
B. HISTORY/LANDMARKS: Attendees were invited to disclose neighborhood landmarks. Some obvious ones were the proximity to the Bass Pro campus and Wonders of Wildlife (WOW) Museum, which location is publicized as Missouri's biggest tourist attraction and is known locally as Springfield's cash-cow corner, Holland Elementary School, and a house on South Jefferson Avenue where the area's first Alcoholics Anonymous meetings were held.
I suggested historical landmarks similar to those in Founders Park be erected to commemorate the people who lived here before the white settlers came. I explained that we were meeting on historical land because we could walk from where we were meeting to grounds the Osage hunting parties used as their campground and sacred burial site. West of the neighborhood was the Delaware Indian Reservation, and Kickapoo villages were in the eastern portion of the Sunshine/Holland Neighborhood, probably on the eastern side of the South Avenue creek or stream that was still above ground when Civil War maps were drawn.
C. CULTURAL CENTER: I suggested a neighborhood cultural center be established, from which visitors could get information for taking walking or driving tours that could include, but not be limited to, the alternate route the Trail of Tears took when it passed through Springfield enroute to Oklahoma in March 1839. The Cherokee,who were forced to relocate to Oklahoma from their homes in Georgia and North Carolina, came through Springfield less than three months after Peter Apperson became the first white man to own the 160 acres in Campbell Township now occupied by the Sunshine/Holland Neighborhood (and SASS).
At a time when the white population was slightly more than 300, and nearly 3000 people arrived in two detachments, an alternate route was needed to accommodate the travelers. The main route leading west was the Indian Trace (or Trail) that became Route 66 and is now I-44; a splinter division went south, down today's I-160 (Campbell Avenue); from where it veered west on today's I-60 (Sunshine Street). The women probably replenished the water supply, while males caught fish and hunted for small game such as squirrels and rabbits to supplement the meager, by-then-moldy daily rations that were hardly enough to feed the starving people.
Q.-40. Where did you propose such a cultural center be built?
A.-40. I made no such proposal, but it isn't hard to predict that the land mark for which I am making application through the National Parks Service, for erection of an official Trail of Tears Marker, will not be installed in my yard or yours. It would most likely be raised at Sunshine Street and Campbell Avenue, where the addition of a Native American Indian-exhibits section was recently opened by WOW in its efforts to raise attendance and money while ostensibly raising public awareness through education.
Q.-41. You did not represent SASS at the Sunshine/Holland Neighborhood meeting hosted by the City of Springfield, but you did represent SASS when you requested some information from the city which you said you would provide upon receipt. What is that information, and for what reason did you request it?
A.-41. I was piecing together answers to questions about what the city knew about our floodprone conditions in the SASS area and what might already have been done about it, in order to try and ascertain what we may expect will or will not be done in the future. I am including, at the end of this section, copies of my queries so SASS may acquire copies without relying on mine. Upon receipt of information he requested, Al Baker (SASS Northwest) will submit his research directly to Mark Clore.
Q.-42. What does "recuse" mean and why are you recusing yourself?
A.-42. Recuse means I am removing myself because I am now bringing private legal action against the City of Springfield and, ethically, can no longer discuss this matter. My recusal follows receipt of this voice-mail message on Monday, February 6, 2005: "This is Claudia with the City of Springfield. Wanda Parrott, you contacted our office in December and asked for some information and reports. We sent this to the Law Department and they said this matter is in litigation and all responses will be through the courts. Thank you."
Q.-43. One final question: In your opinion, what advice would you give your successors in SASS about the question most asked by SASS-area homeowners: what is the life expectancy of Single- Family-Residential Zoning in the SASS area--before it expires through rezoning and redevelopment, if not through condemnation proceedings?
A.-43. Watch what is happening with WOW, which is currently flopping and flailing like a fish out of water. If it sinks, SASS will probably stay afloat in its single-family-residential stormwater/sewage-prone basin, but if WOW swims, SASS will eventually sink.