Mary Caroline Coletti's attack on Silver Spring's historic art deco buildings {Letters to the Weekly, July 19} is just another attempt by a little group to turn the serious issues of Silver Spring's revitalization into an inappropriate war of taste. Silver Spring's historic centerpiece, the 1938 Silver Theatre and Silver Spring Shopping Center complex, was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. It was evaluated by distinguished scholars and experts during every stage of the review process -- from the local to the federal level. Tastes may differ, but is Mary Coletti so intolerant that she cannot acknowledge these buildings' historic significance just because she doesn't perceive them as masterworks?

She says she "loves art, culture and history," and "that is why Silver Spring needs a Silver Triangle {the proposed mega-mall} ... so it will have something to offer residents and the rest of the metropolitan area." Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there are very few who would prefer our town center being converted into another White Flint and Rockville Pike. An "upscale" performing arts center in the restored theater would serve all lovers of art, culture and history.

JOHN A. GILSON JR. Silver Spring

Given the choice between better shopping or saving an art deco movie marquee, the Silver Spring residents on my street would gladly tear down the marquee. Ourselves. Today.

The families on my block are fed up with the "citizens groups" and the Pat Singers of the world {"Silver Spring Doesn't Want That Mall," letter, July 28} who unwisely spurn convenient shopping and unwittingly encourage the ceaseless decay chewing the life out of our city.

The families on my block are weary of the self-appointed anti-growth shmegegies who arrogantly pretend to speak for us by filing lawsuits against Lloyd Moore's Silver Triangle project.

And this is the main point: we're tired of schlepping out to White Flint and Wheaton Plaza every time we need a new pair of sneakers, a new book or a cuff link.

Look at Takoma Park. A commercial wasteland. Sure it's a smokeless, nuclear-free shred of ersatz San Francisco. But it's also the wrong place to look for a frying pan. Or a pair of jeans. Or a dress shirt. That's why nobody shops there. Yet now advocates of this same sort of self-deluded urban planning are conjuring up another dangerous daydream: people coming from miles around to drop their shopping dollars in Silver Spring because they'll catch a heady whiff of the '20s. From a movie marquee.

That's beyond naive. Yet these no-growthers are trying to make us see that tired old Colesville Road movie house as some kind of national shrine to F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Jazz Age. That silly marquee isn't an endangered species. It isn't the architectural equivalent of a Northern spotted owl. And it isn't worth the effort to save it.

We want that mall in Silver Spring. We want Macy's. We want those movie theaters. We want to put our money in Silver Spring's pockets.

BRAD GERMAN Silver Spring