What was the point of the lead photograph on Nov. 12's Washington Business? To scare off potential department store anchors for Hechinger Mall II?

That area surrounding H Street is not a rundown slum as the photo would lead people to believe. It's a lively business district surrounded by family homes. With Gallaudet three blocks away, you could even say it's a university "town."

A better picture would have shown the American Security Bank on the corner across from the building on 8th and N streets NE or Riggs National Bank on another corner, both massive sandstone structures from the old school of bank architecture.

Or on a third corner, your photographer could have shown the attractive, two-year-old, red brick, block-long "H Street Connection" shopping mall, or going south on 8th Street from that same corner, the new Lincoln Mews condominiums.

Only three buildings were involved in the photo, but they look like a whole block. The caption said that the boarded-up building shown once had housed a nightclub and that the intersection was a trolley-car transfer point. Please. We lost the trolley a quarter century ago. What's that got to do with today's efforts to get Hechinger Mall II?

-- Russell T. Forte