WASHINGTON residents aren't likely to see armored personnel carriers lumbering down Pennsylvania Avenue or M-16-toting soldiers patrolling Dupont Circle any time soon.
But D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly hasn't given up trying. After President Clinton this week rejected her request to deploy National Guard troops to fight crime in the nation's capital, the mayor vowed to seek congressional authorization for the move.
Mr. Clinton said he would back Ms. Kelly on Capitol Hill. In a letter to the mayor, the president noted that ``the persistent and often increasing rates of homicide and nonfatal shooting, robbery, and other crimes against property are siphoning away the humanity of this community.'' Last year, 452 people were killed in the streets and alleys of Washington.
But Congress may be reluctant to authorize the use of the Guard, which would give Kelly the same power that the 50 governors currently enjoy. Washington has a unique legal status as a federal district, not a state. Legislation to make it the 51st state has been stalled in Congress for decades. While liberal Democrats generally support the move, conservative Republicans and Democrats are opposed to statehood because they are concerned that the majority-black district would be an ultraliberal voting bloc. Mubarak Meets Clinton
Speaking of policing Washington.... Maybe Kelly can borrow some of the legions of security guards who turned out Oct. 25 to protect Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak during a visit to the White House.
Police and the Secret Service blocked off both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue leading to the White House, an extraordinary move that snarled traffic on one of the city's busiest streets. Mr. Mubarak has received numerous death threats from Islamic extremists who are battling to bring down his government. But the Egyptian leader said he was unaware of any specific threats.
``Security was at the level we thought appropriate because of all the obvious tensions that surround the whole Middle East peace process,'' Clinton declared.
At their meeting, the two presidents tried hard to resolve some of those tensions, but wound up disagreeing on how best to proceed. Mubarak called for putting top priority on the peace talks between Israel and Syria. But Clinton suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin needs some room to maneuver after signing a groundbreaking agreement with the PLO.