When Roger Valdez heard remarks that Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant told KIRO Radio recently, he didn’t have to search long for the words to respond.
“That’s just fake news. She’s lying,” Valdez told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.
On Tuesday, Sawant promoted imposing greater fees on developers and more taxes to fund affordable housing in Seattle while on KIRO Radio’s Jason and Burns Show. She said Mayor Ed Murray’s plan to form an affordable housing committee “was half composed of big developers which are dead opposed to any measure because they are going to have to pay a tiny bit of the massive profits they make. That is how a measure such as a linkage fee was left off the table because the big developers didn’t want it.”
Valdez writes for Forbes on issues of economics and housing. He has spent his career working on public policy around housing issues and is director of Smart Growth Seattle. He couldn’t disagree more with the Seattle councilmember.
“She’s absolutely telling an untruth,” he said. “They actually are imposing fees. It was developers like Vulcan and nonprofit developers that the mayor put in a room, and they are doing fees. Our councilmember should not only have her (economics) degree revoked, because she doesn’t understand basic economics, but she doesn’t even understand what she’s voted on, which is to impose fees on downtown, South Lake Union, and the U-District – exactly what she’s talking about.”
Valdez also argued against Sawant’s premise that raising fees and taxes on housing will make it cheaper. Instead, he said, developers and housing officials will just charge more to cover the fees, making housing even more expensive in the end.
“Councilmember Sawant is woefully misinformed,” Valdez said. “And I don’t know where she got her economics degree, but that university should take it back.”
That would be North Carolina State University, where she earned a PhD in its economics program.
Listen to Dori’s full conversation with Valdez below.