A mayoral candidate forum was held at Southeast's Holy Comforter School on July 11. The topic of the evening was the candidates' positions on crime -- one of the most pressing issues facing this city.

The forum was scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. I was disappointed to see that none of the "top contenders" bothered to show up on time, although John Ray called to say he would be late. Walter E. Fauntroy and Maurice T. Turner Jr. did not even attend. One of the few candidates to arrive on time -- in fact early -- was Nancy Lord of the Libertarian Party. Dave Clarke, Charlene Drew Jarvis and Sharon Pratt Dixon all showed up at least one hour late, causing the forum to be condensed, forcing the elimination of some of the panel's questions and curtailing discussion.

With the crime rate soaring, the drug epidemic still present and police being underfunded, one would think the candidates would address public-safety issues with a higher degree of seriousness by arriving on time. If the citizens of the District can't count on candidates to be responsive to these issues in a public forum, what can we count on being done by the next mayor's administration? WENDY KARHU Washington