Longform

Funny girl

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Like Parkhurst, Rhoads has his own collection of documents and color photographs, several of them featuring shots of Parkhurst aiming her camera at Rhoads. This photographic feud, he says, has gone beyond ridiculous.

"I'm sitting here eating my dinner, taking pictures of her videotaping inside my living room and bedroom," he says. "I didn't think this woman would be that big of a disaster."

McCord and Peterson add that Parkhurst has set her sights on them as well.
"I can't walk my dog without her taking pictures. Of course, we're photographing her, but she's doing damage," Peterson argues.

"This block is predominately a gay block, and she does not like gay people," says McCord, who is not surprised by questions involving his relationship with Duncan. McCord, a longtime supporter of Duncan who says he's not related to Betty Wadkins, has already caught wind of Parkhurst's conspiracy theory, and it continues to amaze him.

"She claims she saw Larry Duncan and I holding hands. I am not having an affair with council member Duncan," McCord says, then pauses. "He's not my type."

McCord glances downward as Rhoads explains how he rejected McCord's initial warnings to stay away from Parkhurst when Rhoads first moved into the home in 1993.

"I was forewarned by two or three different people in this neighborhood: 'Don't even try to be friends.' But I went there," Rhoads says. "She's had dinner here. She's been on my porch. She even showed me her breast where there was a lump of cancer."

And when nobody recently showed up at Parkhurst's house for a Tupperware party, Rhoads says, he and his two sons tried to salvage the gathering. "I had to spend $300 in order for her to get this $65 bowl."

When Parkhurst began talking about mulch last summer, Rhoads says, he was initially open to her idea of filling in a small hole around his chain-link fence. "When she had first started, it was fine," Rhoads says. "She just got carried away."

Rhoads contends that he responded to Parkhurst's mulch project by asking her to put her plan in writing so he could assess how much it would cost and whether it would work. Protecting their property from erosion, he adds, was not an issue because the hill is underlain by white rock.

Rhoads says Parkhurst never gave him any written proposals and, instead, began hauling in mulch last August and dumping it on his property. Within days, Rhoads says, his fence was buried in mulch and trees were falling left and right.

"My fence. My trees. This woman has screwed with me so much, it's disrupted my life. How do you replace a 50-year-old tree?" Rhoads asks. "I can't stop her. I called the city. I called the attorneys, but I can't stop her. But in the long run, you know what? I'll stop her."

Evidently, the first time Rhoads tried to stop Parkhurst occurred on the afternoon of August 18, when he watched in horror as Parkhurst knocked over a young cedar tree that he contends was on his property.

Shortly before 5 p.m. that day, Dallas police responded to a 911 call from Parkhurst, in which she complained that Rhoads was threatening a man who was working in her yard. When officers arrived, Parkhurst told them that she and Rhoads had "entered into a civil agreement about filling in a hole on their property lines," a police report states.

Rhoads told the officers that the worker, Holcomb Tree Service employee Pete Sistus, had damaged a tree on his property. According to their report, the officers told Parkhurst and Rhoads that the problem was a civil matter, one they could take before a judge.

That visit was the first of many Dallas police officers and city employees would soon make to the 7200 block of Eccles Drive. And that single phone call set in motion the creaky machinery of a cumbersome city bureaucracy, which continues to spin its wheels on Parkhurst's mulch pile today.

While Rhoads and Parkhurst argued over the damaged tree, a new city ordinance relating to illegal dumping and fill operations was slowly making its way through City Hall, and this is where the heart of Parkhurst's conspiracy theory lies.

On July 31, the City Plan Commission considered a proposal to change a city ordinance that would limit the amount of fill a person could dump at one location to five truckloads or 50 cubic yards of material each year.

Anyone hoping to dump more than that would have to first obtain a specific use permit from the city and gain the approval of the City Council by showing, in part, that the filling won't "alter drainage" of the property or "adversely affect" adjacent properties and surrounding uses.

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Rose Farley
Contact: Rose Farley