Rob Johnson’s Misleading Housing Claims

by Jon Lisbin

Rob Johnson is a Seattle City Council member and chair of the Planning, Land Use and Zoning Committee; a position which gives him significant sway over the zoning policies the city adopts.

Based on a blog article by John Fox in Outside City Hall, I felt compelled to look further into Johnson’s oft repeated claim that the city of Seattle is “adding 40 new people a day but building only 12 housing units per day.”  I was then a bit shocked on Feb 21, when he stated at a full council meeting, that 70 people are moving here daily.  During this session he persuaded a majority of the council members to support upzones (increased building height) in the University District while rejecting very reasonable amendments proposed by Council members Mike O’Brien and Lisa Herbold.

The fact is that the latest US census shows that Seattle is adding a “net” 40 people per day so his recent 70 claim is likely from another source; the Washington State Office of Financial Management.  The real false statement seems to be the denominator of 12 new housing units being built per day. Continue reading