Alexandria officials, in an effort to revive an anti-loitering ordinance struck down last year by a federal judge, have proposed revisions they say would make the law enforceable and constitutional.

The proposal, however, differs little from the old law, aimed at curbing drug trafficking on city streets.

City Attorney Philip G. Sunderland said he tried to resolve the judge's concerns that the ordinance was too specific and could be used to prosecute such constitutionally protected activities as exchanging business cards by changing the language that makes clear police discretion in enforcing the law.

Under the old law, Alexandria police could make an arrest based on a seven-point definition of a drug deal that includes standing in a public place for 15 minutes, contacting at least two people and exchanging money or small objects with two or more people, a federal judge ruled.

The old law, approved last June, was never enforced before it was struck down in September.

The proposed revision, city officials said, would make it clear that police observation of the seven actions could not be considered alone as enough evidence for a police officer to make an arrest. The new ordinance would allow the officer to use the defined actions as evidence that must be considered with other circumstances before any decision to arrest is made.

Those circumstances, which are not defined in the proposed ordinance, include whether the area involved is known for drug trafficking and whether motorists often were approached by persons offering to sell drugs, city officials said.

The City Council tonight is expected to set a public hearing on the proposal. Residents and civil rights groups, who last year debated the old law, again offered opposing views of the proposed change.

"Loitering ordinances are not the way to address the drug problem," said Victor M. Glasberg, a lawyer representing the American Civil Liberties Union, which, along with the NAACP and 15 residents, challenged the original law on constitutional grounds. "Keeping people off the streets isn't going to do anything. It {the ordinance} gives people false hopes and doesn't address the real issues" such as poverty and economic injustice.

David Drachsler, chairman of the Northern Virginia chapter of the ACLU, said it was unclear what position his organization will take on the revised ordinance. Representatives for the NAACP could not be reached yesterday for comment.

"I think the people who are advocates for cleaning up their neighborhoods will support it," said Ramona Younger, who helped form a group to support the original ordinance.

Mayor Patricia S. Ticer (D) said yesterday the measure likely will have broad council support. The resolve "is there to have this as another tool for police," Ticer said. "One single law won't make that much of a difference, but together with others will."

However, council member T. Michael Jackson (D) questioned whether the ordinance would be effective or whether it would just be another law "on the books" that is too rigid to enforce. "I want the city attorney to explain to me what the difference is," Jackson said.