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Raise Standards Through Mandates

Regarding the three-part editorial series on the Federalism-Summit proposals Nov. 1, 2, and 3: ''General welfare'' might have been viewed in 1787 as not doing anything that would interfere with the quality of lives of citizens. If one were to redefine general welfare projects for the 20th century, the definition would include many of the objectives that unfunded mandates attempt to achieve: clean water, clean air, maintenance of a natural environment, preservation of habitats and open space, and perhaps standards of responsibility as well as rights.

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How can the federal government discharge its responsibility for promoting the quality of life? Whatever the result intended, the required actions must be taken simultaneously by all states. Only by mandates can the national standards be raised. They are an important legal tool of any national government intent on improving the quality of life of its people.

Edward G. Boettiger Storrs, Conn.

Just 'hoi,' not 'the hoi'

Regarding the article ''A Night of Caviar; Political Stargazing For the Hoi Polloi,'' Nov. 8: You could save a little ink and honor good Greek if you'd have your writers remember that ''hoi,'' as in ''hoi polloi,'' means ''the;'' so it is redundant - indeed, absurd - to write ''the hoi polloi.''

John T. Wilcox Binghamton, N.Y.