Reader credits government for Internet success

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To the editor,

In your interview with author Amity Shlaes, she states that “the private sector is a better job creator than the public sector. The Internet was not created by executive order — it was private industry” (“Heights author explains her whig ways,” June 23).

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Internet was created by the U.S. military and then was nurtured for many years by universities around the world. E-mail, the World Wide Web, FTP — none were created by private industry. The Internet was decentralized, which meant no one could own it or control it. Out of this environment came Yahoo, eBay, Google, YouTube, you name it — all born from a system wisely and thoughtfully created not by private industry, but by the government, academics and scientists.

While most people do not understand how the Internet works or why, it has succeeded so spectacularly because every piece of data on the Internet is treated equally. Time-Warner cannot block or change Google any more to reach you than a yarn merchant in Greece. All data is treated the same.

It is, in fact, private industry that is now trying to change this and pushing the government to allow onerous tolls on the information highway that will allow them to segregate and charge different prices to different people and companies for transmitting their data across the world.

Seth Kaplan, Prospect Lefferts Gardens

Smartmom’s wrong

To the editor,

I read Smartmom’s recent column on public vs. private schooling (“Public school is best because she’s broke,” June 16), and had this reaction: There are many of us who join Smartmom in believing that having the opportunity to attend a great school should not be so difficult.

I think we would all agree that there just aren’t enough quality choices. With the above in mind, I would encourage Smartmom not to be critical of those kids and parents who elect to attend an independent school.

The independent schools of today are very different than the elitist examples of the past. I know that at Berkeley Carroll, we commit over $3 million a year for financial aid to ensure that we bridge economic classes.

Our students collectively do thousands of hours of community service in Park Slope and in New York City, and our students, even the youngest ones, raised thousands of dollars to help children suffering from AIDS in Africa, children left without school supplies in Louisiana, and others.

Even though we have admission standards, we have students with a range of abilities, but all students share one trait: they are willing to work hard in order to achieve. It is not racist or classist to provide motivated kids with stimulating reading, challenging math, innovative science and exposure to all of the arts.

Yes, as is the case in the public schools, we have families who have summer houses out on Long Island, but we also have families where our school is their number one commitment — and tuition comes before vacations, fancy houses or new cars.

I thank Smartmom for raising this topic and I applaud her efforts to bring a sharper focus to this dilemma. Let’s all keep working to provide kids with the best schools possible.

Robert D. Vitalo, Park Slope

The writer is head of Berkeley Carroll School

Marty for mayor?

To the editor,

The logical next step for Marty Markowitz is to run for Manhattan borough president, since as Brooklyn borough president, he has labored so very hard to turn Brooklyn into Manhattan (“Beep’s Bloomy bounce,” June 23).

His crusade for Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project and Thor Equities’ gutting of Coney Island lead me to believe that Queens, Bronx and Staten Island residents would suffer from him as mayor the same way we have here in Brooklyn.

Da Tian, Park Slope

One dude for pot

To the editor,

In his recent article, “Pot war in Brooklyn” (June 23), reporter Matthew Lysiak showed me again why the debate over the merits of medical marijuana is a breath of fresh air to those who cherish individual civil and economic liberties.

Consumption of marijuana for both medical and recreational use has been part of mainstream America for decades. Despite the efforts of both government and the Moral Majority social police — who want to outlaw marijuana, as they once did alcohol — the policy has failed.

What consenting adults consume, inhale, perform, read or view in the privacy of their own home or private social club isn’t the concern of government. Individual economic and civil liberties prosper best when government stays out of both the bedroom and marketplace.

Creative entrepreneurs will always provide whatever products citizens desire, regardless of government approval. Consumers have voted with their dollars and made marijuana consumption a multi-billion-dollar enterprise today.

Legalize it and add a sales tax; revenues will more than cover any abuse of the law. And then law enforcement authorities could feel free to pursue those who commit real crimes against citizens and property.

Larry Penner, Great Neck

Duffield attack

To the editor,

The houses on Duffield Street should have been torn down 50 years ago (“Historians in push to ‘save’ Duffield Street,” June 23). They are a blight and an eyesore to the area.

Probably almost every old building can have a claim of historic meaning (“My grandmother” stayed in a place in Coney Island, etc).

If these protesters want those crummy-looking firetraps, the city should allow them to move them to their own property at their own expense somewhere else, maybe even the Poconos. Enough already — let’s move on and fix up the area. It’s long overdue.

Alvin Pankin, Downtown

No Coney condos

To the editor,

It seems to me you missed the point of the Coney Island condo issue entirely (“Let Joe Sitt build,” June 23). Anyone can build condos north of Surf Avenue and west of Keyspan Park.

Why can’t they build their condos there and not in a small area of amusement zoning which represents the heart of old Coney Island?

The city is not trying to stop Joe Sitt from building condos, but simply trying to preserve some piece of Coney Island history.

Lloyd Handwerker, Park Slope

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