The Aug. 9 Metro story "The Dead Zone" misses the point. The issue is not cellular telephone service or none. It is whether commercial interests should be allowed to use park property for private gain even when there are marketplace alternatives.

There are antennas all over the metropolitan area. There is no reason why the cellular telephone companies shouldn't have to purchase the rights to erect antennas on private, commercial sites near Rock Creek. It is always superficially cheaper to use park property for a commercial purpose, if one doesn't consider the cost of replacing parkland.

I understand that the companies have claimed that it is technically unfeasible to use alternative sites. If this is true, I think there may be a Nobel Prize waiting for some company scientist who can explain why Rock Creek Park space is impermeable to radio waves from, say, Connecticut Avenue. This is simply another case of commercial interests using political clout to rip off the public.

I am disappointed again at the Republicans for imposing a government mandate rather than allowing the marketplace to solve the problem. The costs are thus shifted from cell phone users and providers to the general public in the form of the lost amenity of park space.

RICHARD STONE ROTHBLUM

Washington