Mayor Walter E. Washington, at ceremonies honoring city police for reducing crime, professed bewilderment yesterday at what he said was the neglect by the news media of stories favorable to the District of Columbia.
Specifically, the mayor indicated dissatisfaction with coverage of events on Tuesday in which $10 million was restored to the city's budget request, money was added to pay the city for inaugural expenses, and a key congressman voiced support for building a civic center here.
"I didn't see anything in the paper about it," the mayor said, apparently referring to all three items.
The restoration of the $10 million that was cut by the Ford administration was reported in the ninth paragraph of a story that began on the front page of Wednesday's editions of The Washington Post.
Reports previously had appeared in The Post indicating that Congress would be asked to pay the city $650,000 for inaugural expenses and that Rep. William R. Natcher (D-Ky.) had dropped his opposition to a civic center here.
In an interview several hours after the mayor's talk, his press spokesman said the mayor was aware the restoration of the $10 million was reported in The Post.
The aide, Sam Eastman, said the "mayor was expressing his view that the coverage was meager considering the importance of the events."
In his talk honoring members of the third police district for leading the department in reducing crime in the last quarter of 1976, the mayor was particularly scornful of news reports attributed to "reliable sources."
Many recent news reports containing information city officials view as unfavorable have contained statements attributed to "reliable sources."
Speaking to about 300 persons at third district headquarters the mayor said: "I wonder why we can't get anything decent in the paper except stories that say 'from a reliable source'." He indicated a belief that persons making accusations should be willing to e identified by name.
Referring to the budget actions taken Tuesday by the White House and the Office of Management and Budget and the civic center support by Rep. Natcher, the mayor asserted: "I named my sources - The President, Mr. (Bert) Lance (head of OMB), Mr. Natcher.
"I guess if I said it was from a "reliable source," the mayor added, "it would have been in the paper."
Continuing in the same vein, the mayor said that while "millions of people" attended events here connected with President Carter's inauguration. 'I haven't even heard of anyone losing (a) pocketbook."
But, the mayor said, "if it had been bad, you would be reading about it for days - quoting 'reliable sources.'"
Addressing himself to the question of crime, the mayor said it has been decreasing here for seven years, and that 16 major American cities had higher rates of reported crime.
Nevertheless, he said, the city is still described as the nation's "crime capital>" and he cited a report in the January, 1977 issue of Fortune magazine, that says "Washington's many good hotels are like stockades in the jungle."
The report, in the magazine's "Bed & Board" section, said the hotels are "encircled by areas that the visitor wanting to stretch a leg" in the evening "enters at his peril."
Responding to the magazine report, the mayor said he visits hotels every night. "I've never gotten in trouble," he said.
Three of the hotels referred to in the article are in the third district, where, according to police, the number of serious crimes reported decreased by about 20 per cent between the last quarter of 1975 and the last quarter of 1976.
Under Insp. Charles E. Rinaldi, who took command in the middle of last year, the number of crimes reported in the last three months of 1976 was 1,884, compared to 2,368 in the same period in 1975.
In the city as a whole, police said, the number of serious reported crimes the last quarter of last year (12,486) declined by 11 per cent below the corresponding period in 1975, (14,032). Police said the total number of crimes reported last year was 10 per cent below the total number reported in 1975.
"We have a safe city," the mayor said at the ceremony in which the third district received the pennant awarded quarterly for crime reduction.
"It's because of the policemen that are in this room," the mayor added.
He also cited citizen cooperation with police as playing an important role in curbing crime.
While not calling on citizens to attempt to subdue suspects personally, he asked them to notify police of untoward events and to be willing to give evidence in court if necessary.
Among those attending the ceremony were city administrator Julian Dugas, business figures from the third district and Emily Preyer, wife of Rep. Richardson Preyer (D-N.C.) and president of the Congressional Wives Club, which owns a building in the third district at 16th Street and New Hampshire Avenue NW.
During his talk, the mayor also recounted his appeal to OMB chief Lance for reimbursement of inaugural expenses, which included police overtime.
The mayor indicated that Lance expressed an awareness of D.C. police activity. "Mr. Lance's car got it the day he got here," the mayor told his listeners yesterday. "It's my understanding that Lance had his cartowed," explained a usually reliable source.