A coach who cared
Re "Don Coryell, 1924 - 2010," Obituary, July 2
The loss of Don Coryell reminds me what coaching should be about. I had the privilege of working with Coryell, first as sports editor of the student newspaper at San Diego State, then as assistant sports information director there, and finally as a newspaper reporter.
Like John Wooden, Coryell coached winning teams and was innovative. But what I learned from Don was how to deal with people. He treated each of his players, and everyone he came in contact with, with the utmost respect. He gave you 100% of his attention and was genuinely concerned about your success, on and off the field. He made you feel special and important, and vital to the team's success.
With this approach, Coryell turned out not only winning teams but, more important, winning people. It's an injustice that he isn't enshrined in the pro football Hall of Fame.
Soccer isn't for them
Re "When will the U.S. grasp soccer?" Opinion, July 4
The answer to Ariel Dorfman's rhetorical question is: never.
And it's not a function of "anti-immigrant nativists" or American arrogance. The answer is perfectly clear. Though playing soccer might be fun, watching it on television is deadly dull. The officiating is arbitrary and capricious, and years appear to go by between goals.
I've watched some of this year's World Cup "action" over the last few weeks, but once the series ends, I'll go back to a more exciting spectator sport: listening to golf on the radio.
Every four years, during the World Cup, the U.S. gets ridiculed for not living and dying for soccer.
The reason for this is easily explained: baseball, basketball, football and hockey — four sports that display more skill and have more action. Not to mention actual scoring.
The real question is, why doesn't the rest of the world get the incredible sports of baseball, basketball, football and hockey?
The howling over coyotes
Re "Crusading against predatory coyotes," July 6
The article says that experts think the growing daytime attacks are due to "human complacency."
I'm surprised these experts didn't say anything about the fact that we've overrun the coyotes' territory. Perhaps the coyotes are getting desperate for food because we continue to destroy their habitat.
Though I certainly don't want to see people lose precious pets, I wish we would look to the long term and leave the nonhuman creatures living and hunting space.
The most important thing Thousand Oaks-area residents can do to protect their animal companions from coyotes is to keep them indoors, allowing them outside only on a leash or in a fenced-in area, under supervision.
Attacks by predators aren't the only dangers our animal companions face outdoors. Every day, animals are poisoned, used for target practice and worse after being left outside alone, even for just a few minutes.
Trying to eliminate coyotes by trapping, shooting or poisoning them is cruel and can harm cats and dogs who step into a trap, swallow poison or take a bullet intended for a coyote. It's also ineffective because more coyotes will simply move in to fill the void. Preventing coyotes from frequenting an area in the first place by removing food sources and hiding places is more humane and effective than resorting to violence.
The writer is director of the emergency response team of the cruelty investigations department of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Check out our libraries
Re "The public library blues," Opinion, July 6
Marilyn Johnson's message is especially relevant to California.
In the 2009 America's Most Literate Cities report, six California cities placed in the bottom seven places in public library quality: Bakersfield (69th), Los Angeles (70th), Anaheim (71st), Sacramento (72nd), Stockton (74th) and Santa Ana (75th).
California also has the worst-supported school libraries in the country, in terms of both holdings and staffing.
Study after study shows that library quality is related to higher scores on reading tests. It is therefore not surprising that California children do poorly on reading tests: Children get better in reading by reading a lot, and they read more when they have access to books.
Let's divert some of the huge sums spent on testing to funding libraries. Let's invest in promoting learning, not just measuring it.
The writer is a professor emeritus at USC's Rossier School of Education.
Thank you for the eloquent article. If the libraries continue to shrink, it will indeed be an irreplaceable loss.
Every mansion has its price
Re "The billionaire next door," July 6