to the editor: although betty cooper wallerstein is correct that if any public office has to go, it should be the public advocate and not the borough presidents (letter, april 30), it is not so simple. for example, the public advocate presides at meetings of the city council, and is a member of all committees. this function would either have to be eliminated or shared in some way by the five borough presidents. the public advocate also appoints a member to the city planning commission. and although each borough president has the same power, there might be contention as to who gets to make that second appointment. that said, there is little else that the public advocate does that the borough presidents could not-and, indeed, do not already-do. finally, although all of ms. wallerstein's suggestions for redistribution of the "millions budgeted for public advocate" are laudable (more police and firefighters, health care, education, etc.), it would make the most sense to simply take the public advocate's budget and add it proportionally to the budgets of the five borough presidents (by the same method that their budgets are currently determined). this would not only allow them to become even better and more effective advocates for their constituencies, but would also give them additional discretionary funds to allocate to exactly some of the things ms. wallerstein suggests.
ian alterman upper west side
letters have been edited for clarity, style and brevity.