SPORT ENTHUSIASTS TAKE SAFETY SERIOUSLY
I'm a serious downhill skateboarder in Hawai'i and the skater in the "13 Turns and a Bucket of Burns" video. I was disappointed that the article (Jan. 25) about skateboarding didn't include interviews of local folks who consider this a serious sport. While I am proud that the videos are a hit and feature Hawai'i's beautiful downhill runs, I don't appreciate our sport being singled out as thrill-seeking, irresponsible behavior.
There are always amateurs on the road, yet we take safety, ours and others on the road, very seriously. Our experience is that drivers of the most dangerous equipment, cars, should be admonished.
Ask any resident on these mountains and they will say the greatest threat is drivers speeding or not staying on their side of the road.
We accept the consequences of any personal injury we may suffer. This is our sport. A great life lesson taught in our sport is getting back up after falling down, because you will fall. In our sport only the strongest get back up and try again.
We who take this seriously know someday we'll have a legitimate closed-course race. Until then, let's find and share the aloha that Hawai'i is about.
Kenny Bergstrom | Honolulu
SCHOLARSHIP STATISTIC CAN BE EXPLAINED
"Lies, damned lies, and statistics" is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments.
In the letter "Our public schools are shortchanged" (Feb. 7), statistics are referenced that 59 National Merit semifinalists came from private schools and the Hawai'i public schools produced only eight.
The letter writer states this "appalling disparity cannot be excused." However, it can be explained. First, Punahou and 'Iolani had 25 students each, which represent 85 percent of the state's semifinalists from private schools.
No one would question that both of these private schools have an extraordinary high number of academically gifted students. And certainly the upper 1 percent of students is not distributed equally in our private/public school system just as neither English as a second language nor special education populations are equally represented.
Second, the National Association for College Counseling and college and university admission officers have strongly criticized the National Merit Scholarship Corporation's use of only one measure — the PSAT/NMSQT test score to select the semifinalists.
Honest criticism of public schools is both healthy and productive. However, manipulation of statistics should best be left for the professionals: administrators, lawyers and politicians.
JIMIWOLFE | Honolulu
COST TO FILL HOUSE SEAT TOO EXPENSIVE
A million dollars is a terrible amount to waste, especially in view of our poor economy.
With all due respect to Rep. Neil Abercrombie, when he resigns his position, a special election to fill his seat from May through November cannot be considered a high priority. Congress hasn't passed a single bill in the past year that was influenced by a single vote in the House of Representatives.
The state of Hawai'i is still $1.2 billion short of balancing its budget. Let's spend our money on more important matters: things that better the lives of the people.
Roxie Berlin, Ph.D | Honolulu
EXPLOSIONS SHOWDISREGARD FOR AREA
To the Kailua community: There is someone in the neighborhood around Keolu Drive and Alahaki Street who has been routinely setting off some form of explosives or fireworks over the past seven months.
I've recently moved in with family to go to college at UH and am also caring for my two elderly grandparents. Whoever is committing these explosions late into the night, please stop. What you may see as fun comes off as a total disregard for your neighbors, families, the elderly, pets and even the image of Kailua as a whole.
I have tried patiently to live with these periodic disturbances, but on Super Bowl Sunday these fireworks and "explosions" occurred almost every 45 minutes, setting off car alarms.
After listening to screams of the neighbors, I've decided that this has gone too far. Again, I please ask that whoever is entertaining themselves with these explosives, have some courtesy for your community and save the fireworks for New Year's.
Kristin Remington | Kailua
FORMER MAYOR WAS SUPPORTER OF ARTS
An unreported aspect of Frank Fasi's administration was his support of the arts, and I saw it first-hand as a member of his administration.
It was his leadership that led to the beginning of the Ballet Hawaii which started as Honolulu City Ballet. It was his desire to help the Honolulu Symphony, which he did for a number of years, via the Mayor's Symphony Ball, the proceeds of which went to the symphony.
It was the number of arts events held in the Honolulu Hale courtyard which included arts shows, theater presentations, the symphony and others. His support exists today in the Noguchi sculpture on City Hall grounds.
On a lighter side, in a 1974 "Hawaii Five-0" episode, Fasi, playing himself, chastises Steve McGarrett for leaving a golf game when McGarrett gets a flash of crime-solving insight.
He was asked to appear on the show after he demanded, in typical Fasi fashion, that a "Five-0" crew stop blocking traffic during rush hour.
But woe to the production staff — as he was not recognized as the mayor. Apologies from the "Five-0" producer followed, and Fasi subsequently made his formal television acting debut.
robert sandla | Honolulu