I don't know the Gregory B. McBride responsible for "Cut the Nostalgia for Old Silver Spring" {Close to Home, June 21} and I know only a bit about Ben Stein, the guy McBride abuses. I do know about the Silver Spring development issue, however.

I have spent the past six months first pondering the merits of Lloyd Moore Associates' planned "superblock" and then, having decided that the plan has more minuses than pluses, testifying before the Montgomery County Planning Board and becoming active in my civic association in an effort to hold Silver Spring down to a manageable size in a setting like that described in Ben Stein's reverie {"Our Town: Silver Spring's 'Rejuvenation' Just May Mean Its Elimination," Close to Home, June 14}. Oddly, I found Lloyd Moore himself arguing that his vision would restore the trappings of that past, primarily a restored shopping area, and I think that I hear no objection from McBride on that score.

I'd part with McBride when he says it's the town's destiny to be "urban" thanks to its geography. He says "the established presence of an unusual network of major roads -- Georgia Avenue, Colesville Road, East-West Highway, 16th Street -- all have contributed to a dynamic that now demands, for the good of the region and our town, a revitalized Silver Spring." Well, I've heard of that "dynamic" aplenty, it being the dollar divinity to which advocates of overdevelopment of old Silver Spring have appealed since last fall, among them Lloyd Moore Associates, James Tavel (ex-president of the Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce and treasurer of County Executive Sidney Kramer's election campaign). These appeals are a bit hackneyed now. I think that even Kramer is listening for new ideas.

All the roads funneling to poor old Silver Spring are indeed the source of the greatest trouble, along with the monstrosities planned at their intersections. We can't handle another car at the corner of Colesville and Georgia during rush hour, and we don't want cars routed through our neighborhoods, or desperately seeking shortcuts through them morning and night, hitting our pets, our kids, our strolling senior citizens, ourselves and sooting our lungs. Is it nostalgia to care about all that?

Revitalization means that there was a time when the thing "revitalized" was in itself "vital." Stein appears to wish to get the old town to the point where it was when it was vital. A host of good ideas have surfaced at the planning board and county council hearings to do just that. I wonder what McBride thinks of them. More are to come by fall. Perhaps by then the county council will appreciate the seven close-in community associations' dedication to reviving the good in the old town without drowning it in traffic and concrete walls. In our civic groups may rest the core of the community-guided restoration effort.

Funny thing is that the county is involved in just such a restoration and renovation project in Wheaton, a project guided not by greed-fired lawyers, architects and developers but by a need-inspired citizens' committee. The restoration might not bring in $40 million for developers, but it will suit the people around Wheaton very nicely.

Shame on McBride for wanting to hand us over to the developers. Cheers to Ben Stein for reminding us that there were nice times to be had in old Silver Spring -- a place that can be "revitalized" by intelligent planning. -- Clarence Steinberg