To the editors:

Regarding your article on lead paint [Neighborhood News, January 3], I certainly can sympathize with a young child who somehow ingests a high level of lead. My question to you is where in hell was the mother when this happened? Do paint chips have such a visual and savory magnetism that a child finds them irresistible and beyond the control of the parents? Any paint chipping off the walls should be scraped, plastered over, and repainted. Any responsible landlord will do this. But to require total removal of all lead-based paint . . . paint which has been standing for decades, seems a bit ludicrous, and is typical of a knee-jerk liberal response to a problem which could be solved with a bit of responsible education.

To blame the landlord for paint ingestion by the child reminds me of Alderman Streeter’s blame of the government for the drug problem in the black community. He apparently thinks that all those needles and crack pipes somehow attack the user and force him to ingest the drugs. Do you think that landlords are creeping into cribs at night and are force-feeding paint chips to babies?

James B. Mathers


Ben Joravsky replies:

Hey grumpy, lighten up. Communism is dead. Even Republicans are talking about being kinder and gentler.