In response to Joel Garreau's "The Shadow Governments" {front page, June 14}, I would like to clarify the confusion. I had looked forward to the piece thinking Mr. Garreau would be discussing the creative character of successful partnership and the wonder of democracy in action. Instead he paints a sinister conspiracy, which he labels a "shadow government."

I think he missed the mark entirely. Walter Scheiber's definition of government in the article doesn't meet the definition of The American Heritage Dictionary, which defines government "as the act or process of governing; especially the administration of public policy in a public unit." The Ballston Partnership does not govern, nor do we make public policy. Quite the contrary, we provide a forum to deal with issues in Ballston. Membership is open to all, and no one is denied participation.

Mr. Garreau discusses covenants to guarantee a senior citizens' community in the same breath as racial and religious restrictions. I suggest there is a substantial difference between creating a safe, secure environment for senior citizens by age qualification and abhorrent racial or religious restrictions.

TYTRAN at Tysons Corner has "done everything from cutting state highway department red tape to getting a bridge built to establishing a day-care center." TYTRAN was born out of citizen frustration with a state legislature that disproportionately spent highway money in the southern part of the Commonwealth at the expense of this area. The right of aggrieved citizens to organize and develop "clout" is essential to "redress grievances" and as American as apple pie.

I had hoped Joel Garreau would capture the magic of partnerships which, when organized democratically, became democracy in action. Partnerships grow through consensus. They are not the government, but they provide a valuable service to government and the citizens they affect.

Mr. Garreau has been unable to distinguish between regional authorities, Metro government organizations, public/private partnerships and restrictive community organizations. They differ in origin, purpose and composition. Some are created by government through the appointment process, while others are formed spontaneously by a perceived or actual need. My firsthand knowledge of public/private partnerships provides an insight into how communities make decisions. Public/private partnerships show how the American spirit works to create a better life and where government must stop and rightly does leave the community to the people. JOEL ROBERT CANNON President of the Ballston Partnership Arlington