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DEADLINE IS PASSED FOR OK ON LAND SWAP

The deadline passed Tuesday for Common Council approval of a land swap designed to move a home for the mentally handicapped to a more welcoming neighborhood.

The Council tabled Lovejoy Council Member Norman M. Bakos' bill, 7-5, to keep DePaul Mental Health Services Inc. from building the supervised home at 1652-1656 William St. at Greene Street.

Bakos had proposed that the city take title to the William-Greene site and give DePaul a city-owned lot at 1800 Genesee St. at Wende Street near Bailey Avenue for its 14-person home.

Christopher Burns, DePaul's Erie County director, already had told Council members that Tuesday was the last day for action.

DePaul has full rights to build at the William-Greene site and will exercise them, Burns said a week ago.

He could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

Tied into the swap is a concentrated program of city improvements for the Bailey-Genesee area.

At the Council caucus Tuesday, Masten Council Member David A. Collins called the deal an "insult" to the Genesee-Bailey community and derided Bakos' site shift from a white neighborhood to a largely black one.

Bakos insisted his Genesee-Bailey constituents are happy with his swap and said Council delays are meant to hurt him in this year's elections.

He said his Democratic primary opponent, Donald Petrucci, is ready to use the strong William-Greene area opposition to DePaul's home in the coming campaign.

"It will be a major political issue in the Lovejoy race," Bakos forecast.

"So what," returned Council President George K. Arthur. "There's going to be a lot of political issues in any campaign."

Arthur was on the sidelines because he was acting mayor in the absence of Mayor Griffin, but he was allowed to talk on the DePaul issue.

Arthur said he does not believe Mayor Griffin actually will provide the improvements promised at Genesee-Bailey, including better street lighting, sidewalk replacement and repair, free house paint and housing rehabilitation loans.

"I don't trust the mayor. He has said the same thing in other districts and has not honored the commitment," Arthur said.

But Bakos answered back: "He's never lied to me. He has kept his word."

Bakos asserted: "I put together a package I'm proud of. I'm proud of it because all my constituents are happy.

"Why is the Council stopping it? I suspect down deep there's politics somewhere in this mess."

After the vote, Bakos was more direct.

"It's all politics. George Arthur is upset with anything I do because I supported Griffin four years ago," he said.

Arthur lost to Griffin in the 1985 mayor race.

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