I would like to commend Sam Smith, editor of the Progressive Review, on his attempt to see the actions of Eleanor Holmes Norton through rose-colored glasses {"Not Guilty by Association," Close to Home, Oct. 7}. According to Mr. Smith, one only has to have the approval of the Democratic State Committee to deserve the support of anyone who considers himself a Democrat.

He credits Eleanor Holmes Norton with an extraordinary record of service, a quarter century of public service. He does not give any specifics so that we can make our own judgments. He pictures her as a trusting, loyal wife who was misled by her husband, as a brave individual with dignity and integrity.

He certainly is entitled to his opinions. But he knows as well as I that there is more to integrity than paying taxes. If a responsible lawyer ignores a great civic duty until it is a newspaper item, how can the government of any city function well?

I am a Democrat of many years, and incidentally I do not live in Ward 3.

ELEANOR CASEY Washington

Sam Smith's endorsement of Eleanor Holmes Norton suggested she had no responsibility for her husband's failure to pay her taxes. That's garbage.

I resent it as a professional woman and as a wife. Those of us in the women's movement should be disturbed.

My husband is a tax attorney, but I have 50 percent responsibility to sign our tax returns, discuss our financial obligations and ensure our filing. And Eleanor Holmes Norton is a law professor. Don't tell the public she has been innocent after seven years of not filing her D.C. taxes.

I'm supporting Harry Singleton, Mrs. Norton's opponent. There's a clear reason why.

EDIE FRASER Washington

Since 1964, Sam Smith as owner and editor of the Hill Rag and now the Progressive Review, has been decrying the lack of accountability in D.C. government. Now he faults The Post for applying that same standard to Eleanor Holmes Norton.

If Mr. Smith accepts the Norton story that for years, although signing her IRS returns, she was unaware that they had not been filed, let him give us skeptics a little proof based on his investigative reporting. Did Mrs. Norton take a federal deduction for local taxes?

Mrs. Norton's outstanding record of public service merits an honest inquiry of the present charge, not one that begs the whole issue by the use of such loaded terms as "pilloried," "guilt by association" and "husband's chattel." NORMAN BREDESEN Washington