THUMBS UP to Mayor ANNETTE STRAUSS for her deft behind-the-scenes work on this year’s budget. By doing what she does best-back-room persuasion- Strauss defeated objections to funding a community-wide approach to the gangs problem. She also helped restore library hours and staffing, and fought against any backtracking from the pledge to hire 150 new police officers next year. The budget always means tough choices. This year, the mayor was up to the challenge.