The Trashing of Ferris, Texas

Page 9 of 9

At 64, she was tired of fighting.
And Booker was there at her door--ready with relief.
In March 1993, Earline Jackson sold her house and an adjoining lot to Waste Management for $140,000 cash. The house had been appraised at $21,170.

But in this case, Waste Management was after more than just a house. Her contract included a clause stating she'd stop opposing the dump in public as soon as her city council term expired in May 1993--a clause Jackson would choose to ignore. As soon as Jackson sold her house, the anonymous phone calls stopped.

In this ongoing war of attrition, Waste Management had scored no small victory. The Jacksons used the money to build a modest new home a few blocks south of The Flats. She lives there today with her husband, and entertains a constant stream of grandchildren in its immaculately kept premises.

It's a pretty brick house--much sturdier than her former home on Ash Street. But Jackson has bitter regrets.

"It's because of the way I got it, and the way Waste Management has exploited me," she says. "Every time they show something about the landfill on TV, they show the contract--and then the house I used to live in."

This proud daughter of a Baptist deacon was fighting back tears. "If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't sell.

"This home," she says, "seems like a prison to me.

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Julie Lyons
Contact: Julie Lyons

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