The Times editorial board recommends Rob Johnson for Seattle City Council District No. 4.

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NORTHEAST Seattle’s City Council District No. 4 should be central in looming debates about accommodating growth without pricing middle-class families out of Seattle.

The district, created by last year’s switch from citywide City Council seats to district representation, includes three future stops on Sound Transit’s Link light-rail line in the University District and Roosevelt, so it should absorb more density. Finding the smartest approaches to growth without losing unique neighborhood character requires a new voice for this new district. Rob Johnson is the best choice.

The Times recommends:


Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson

Seattle City Council Position No. 4

Strengths: seasoned public-policy nerd; pragmatic and independent

He is a transit evangelist, but also has a pragmatic streak ... Johnson shows a willingness to break from Seattle’s insular liberal orthodoxy and be an independent analyst. ..."

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Johnson is a seasoned public-policy nerd from his work at the transit advocacy group Transportation Choices and from his efforts to help pass a series of ballot measures.

He is a transit evangelist, but also has a pragmatic streak — enough that he’s been endorsed by both the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s political arm and the Sierra Club. Johnson shows a willingness to break from Seattle’s insular liberal orthodoxy and be an independent analyst. His skepticism of a huge “linkage fee” on new development and of mandatory rent stabilization are welcomed.

The five-candidate field for District No. 4 includes three-term Councilmember Jean Godden. She has been a strong member at times, especially on gender-pay disparities, but it is time for her to step aside.

Johnson could use more seasoning on Seattle’s maritime and industrial core, which are threatened by efforts to shoehorn a new arena in Sodo and to scuttle the Port of Seattle’s lease for an Arctic oil-drilling rig. Johnson supports both efforts, but should take a more pragmatic view and investigate further.

Overall, Johnson has the experience and personality to be a strong addition to the Seattle City Council. He should be elected for Seattle City Council District No. 4.

Information in this editorial, originally published July 1, 2015, was corrected July 2, 2015. A previous version of this editorial incorrectly stated that City Council District No. 4 is in northwest Seattle. It is in northeast Seattle.