Over the past 18 months, a great deal has been spoken and written in the controversy over the D.C. public law school. Many of the statements have been off the point, misleading or false. Recently, the charges, rumors and lies have proliferated. The most revolting include the allegation that the D.C. Council intends to throw 1,000 elderly community residents into the street to make way for the law school, and the characterization of the controversy as a fight between a poor black community and a bunch of well-to-do, white, male law students.

It is past time to clear away the garbage and reveal the truth. The real issue is that of employment. Knowledge is power. Knowledge about law is the basis for most economic and political power in this city. The acquisition of legal knowledge by an ever-increasing number of D.C. residents -- of all economic classes, genders and races -- will most certainly bring a powerful new factor into the tired old equation of D.C. government.

The law school's opponents have no problem with every family in the District having at least one low-level government employee, but they stand in the way of each family having at least one lawyer. People have a right to know the law so they can become real players in their government.

Someday we will look back on these hot summer days and realize that the doors of the public law school were, in reality, the gateway to true democracy and equality in the District of Columbia. J. MARINDA HARPOLE Washington