In "Stuck -- and It Ain't Snowing" {letters, June 19}, David Maney asks why the D.C. Public Works Department is not using "your tax dollars" efficiently. I would like to relate a story that might explain why.

One Friday afternoon, my boss wanted to write a letter to the D.C. government to complain about a cluster of trash cans and newspaper dispensers obstructing the crosswalk on the downtown corner of 17th & L streets. This obstruction forces pedestrians to jaywalk -- which, in turn, allows our city's finest to give us jaywalking tickets.

My boss said, "I want you to find out where we send this letter."

That should be easy enough, I thought to myself as I pulled out a phone book and opened it up to the blue government pages.

"Public works -- general information." That looked like what I wanted. I dialed the number.

"Good afternoon," I said. "My boss would like to send a letter to complain about a downtown crosswalk that is obstructed by trash cans and newspaper machines. Whom would I address this letter to? And where would I send it?"

I was told I had called the wrong place and was given another number.

I dialed the new number.

"Secretary's office," answered the young woman.

"Good afternoon," I said. "I have been transferred to this number to find out an address where I can send a letter . . ."

"Oh, I can't believe they did this again," said the receptionist.

I was speaking to Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Hanford Dole's personal secretary, who, needless to say, was madder than a wet hen.

"They did this to us all during those snowstorms," she snapped.

Apparently, if the D.C. Department of Public Works' employees don't know what to do, they send the call to the federal level.

Mrs. Dole's secretary put me on hold, called up the D.C. government and let it be known that the transportation secretary was not pleased and that they had better shape up and get to the bottom of this mess.

After 45 minutes on the phone -- mostly on hold -- I finally spoke to an elderly man who said, "Oh, yes, this is where you send your letter. And we'll look into it."

Eight weeks later, I am still jaywalking across 17th Street.

Mr. Maney, that's where your tax dollars are. DANA THOMAS Washington