THEY DON'T call District Attorney Lynne Abraham a tough cookie for nothing.

Just ask John Street. Abraham, in a white-hot diatribe for reporters who questioned her outside a City Council budget session yesterday, said that Mayor Street is "indifferent" to violence and that he has "turned his back" on the "bloodbath" in this city.

It's hard not to read the self-interest between the lines of the D.A.'s tirade. Abraham may be as concerned about violence in the city as we all are. But her immediate concern is restoring the 2.5 percent cut Street would extract from her $30.6 million budget. In fact, Street's proposal would increase her budget by $730,000.

We want to believe this is all about public safety. But it's hard to forget that when she started dive-bombing Street's office back in January, she complained that he didn't ask her for her ideas about how to make the city safer.

If she has some ideas to make this city safer, she shouldn't let protocol get in her way.

More importantly, she should be savvy enough to know that her comments don't just tarnish Street; to the outside world, they tarnish the whole city.

We all deserve better from the city's district attorney. *