PARENTS AS BURDENS

TRACY THOMPSON'S "CHANGE OF PLACE" [June 20] is a tale of her own burden, her arduous travel, her time, her paperwork, on and on. She quotes her husband as asking, "Why are you taking so much on yourself?" Might she have responded: "Because that is my mother who has done as much for me"?

Her most taxing duty is to compel her mother to move into a retirement home. At no point does she or her sister explore the possibility of their mother living with one of them. Was Ms. Thompson placed in an orphanage to relieve her parents of the burden of rearing her? The reality is that Ms. Thompson discharged her responsibility in the fashion approved by much of American society today: warehousing parents when they are old and burdensome.

I am certain that more than one mother reading this piece will utter a prayer of gratitude that Ms. Thompson is not her daughter.

JOAN SALEMI

West Springfield

I SAW TRACY THOMPSON'S ARTICLE AS the story of a self-absorbed baby boomer whose worst task in life was caring for an aging parent. A life which sounds pretty good to me. I wanted to make her realize that the fact that she was caring for an aging parent means that she had a parent who cared for her and thus to whom she owes much in return. I am jealous of her current "hardship." I would give everything, short of my wife and children, to be in her shoes.

TIM CADIGAN

Rockville

BUSH BASH

GEORGE BUSH MAY HAVE BEEN GUILTY of some things, as are all presidents. But what was the point of Bob Woodward's bashing him ["Hammered," June 20]? It almost seemed to me to be a personal vendetta. If so, why would The Post's editors approve this? It seems a misuse of power, which was exactly the offense of the whole Watergate affair. Mr. Woodward did an outstanding service to his country by exposing this. But I still fail to see the point of his Bush-bashing. It is in my opinion very bush-league.

ROBERT G. LARIMER

McKees Rocks, Pa.

THE STRONG, SILENT TYPE

WAS IT REALLY NECESSARY TO REVILE

the vice president of the United States in your June 27 issue? Political satire is one thing. Personal attack is another. Steve Brodner's "The Making of the Caricature 2000" was vicious, unfair and deliberately hurtful.

Al Gore's supposed "legendary dullness" has been beaten to death. Since when is a man dull because he's the strong, silent type? Goodness, what would you say about John Wayne or Gary Cooper?

BEBE FAAS RICE

Falls Church

FDR'S BASIC FREEDOMS

IN MICHAEL DOBBS'S "AS THE WORLD

Turned" [June 27], regarding the "Propaganda and Dreams: Photographing the 1930s in the USSR and the US" exhibit, he states that although President Franklin D. Roosevelt "borrowed some ideas from Soviet Russia, he never interfered with basic freedoms."

Does Mr. Dobbs regard Roosevelt's order for the forced evacuation and internment

of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II as an interference with basic freedoms?

NORMAN R. PFLANZ

Alexandria

UNSUNG HOUSING INSPECTOR

BRAVO TO PETER PERL FOR WRITING so

coherently and bringing to our attention the efforts of D.C. building inspector James Delgado ["The Avenger," June 27]. His diligence, courage and determination to make Washington a better place are exemplary. Are the other 31 building inspectors as diligent? If not, they should take lessons from him.

F.E. WEISBLATT

Silver Spring

JAMES DELGADO IS OBVIOUSLY AN UNsung hero of the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. One would think the moneyed bureaucrats would convey to Delgado every possible support and honor for a job so well done. It is a national disgrace that landlords can ride in Lincoln Continentals while their tenants lack a fitting roof over their heads. Thank God the James Delgados of the world show us something more noble. This humble hero of the DCRA deserves an immediate promotion as well as the thanks of Mayor Anthony Williams.

JOE HAMMELL

Waynesboro, Pa.

MAJOR PARTS OF WASHINGTON HAVE BEcome wasteland simply because our government has never demonstrated the slightest appreciation for their value. The D.C. government has promoted, passively perhaps, but with all the results of a concerted campaign, the disintegration of certain neighborhoods to serve as "dumping grounds" for people they don't want to deal with.

You would never find a flophouse full of drug addicts or a low-rent brothel operating west of Rock Creek Park, because the citizens there have the political and social clout to act swiftly to shut such places down. They also have the essential "critical mass" of good conditions that encourage stable neighborhoods.

The poor and disenfranchised of the rest of the city currently have only James Delgado, their lone avenging angel.

VICTORIA McKERNAN

Washington

Please address letters to: 20071, The Washington Post Magazine, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Address e-mail to: 20071@washpost.com. Letters and e-mail must include full name, address and daytime telephone number and are subject to editing.