Denise Hoffman's comments concerning my "small-minded" complaint about the cost of President Bush's Maine vacation missed the point {"Petty Grievances," Free for All, Sept. 8}.

My complaint was that the president's vacation was costing taxpayers a lot of extra money, perhaps as much as $50,000 to $100,000 each day. As far as I know, no executives in private industry (and few in the U.S. government) spend taxpayers' money on their vacations. Doing so seems particularly inappropriate at a time when the president is calling upon those same taxpayers for "personal sacrifice" and is considering involuntary furloughs for government employees to reduce dangerously high budget deficits.

As to denying Bush "any vacation whatever," small danger. His August sojourn was only one of many in Kennebunkport since his election. Most of us would think of the imperial luxuries of Camp David as providing reasonable respite from the equally regal surroundings of the White House.

And, as I recall, Bush sent U.S. troops into Panama nine months ago and then went to Camp David for Christmas, Texas for quail hunting and Florida for fishing.

He seems to follow a modified Truman dictum, "If you can't take the heat, get out of town."

-- Eugene J. Carroll Jr.