The supervisors' decision to grant Haagen a low-interest loan is an excellent example of why politicians are held is such low esteem by the public at large. The citizens have every right to wonder whether the awarding of a $25-million loan at 2.5% less than prime rate had more to do with Haagen's heavy contributions to the members of the board than with the merits of his development proposal. It is extremely difficult to believe that in the entire county, only Haagen's proposal "emerged as both a willing applicant and an eligible and qualified loan." This action reeks of political favoritism.
Although the two subjects are not directly related, it is interesting to note that Haagen is the man primarily responsible for the Coliseum Commission's reneging on the promises made to Al Davis and the Raiders. Is it wise to reward the man who may drive the Raiders out of Los Angeles and the Coliseum into insolvency with a large, low-interest loan? I think not.
The main point, however, is not Haagen's poor treatment of Coliseum tenants, but rather the propriety of awarding multimillion-dollar loans to heavy political contributors. The Board of Supervisors should make a strong effort to avoid political favoritism in the awarding of loans and contracts, much stronger than it did in this case.