Councilmember Laura Johnson has sold her Edmonds home, but plans to stay in city ‘for now’

Laura Johnson

Edmonds City Councilmember Laura Johnson has sold her house in Edmonds, but said in social media post that she plans to continue to reside in the city “for now” and serve on the city council.

“I love Edmonds, so this was a difficult, but personal decision,” Johnson wrote in an Aug. 25 Facebook post. “Though my family is moving out of state soon, for now, I will continue to reside in Edmonds and serve on City Council. We have a number of important issues before us right now and I look forward to continuing to serve you while I can.”

Johnson has not responded to messages from My Edmonds News asking about her future plans. A first-term councilmember, she would be up for re-election in 2023.

Johnson also noted that “unfortunately, a few have chosen to harass me about the sale. I can tell them with total confidence that paying a mortgage is not a requirement for residency — renters are residents too! Rest assured, I’ve always followed the rules and will continue to do so now.”

  1. If her family is moving out she will be too. Who wouldn’t? My guess after the election? I have no problem about her leaving, so many are. I do think she knows that she is moving too or this wouldn’t even be a conversation. We wish her well. However, she needs to tell us now she is going. Edmonds need time to find other qualified people to be elected to this position.
    Plus why wouldn’t you be going with your family? Makes for this very conversation of doubts.

  2. I wish Ms. Johnson a fun new adventure.
    However, I do not believe any person whose intent is to be a non-resident should have the power and input in making decisions for a community they no longer will live in. NO, step aside and let the permanent residents who will live with those decisions be the ones to make the important and long impacting decisions.

  3. Joy, why do you feel like Councilperson Johnson “needs” to tell you anything? It is literally none of our business. Not now. Not later.

    1. The city needs to know if she is no longer intent or committed to being a resident. We need councilmembers committed to making decisions for the city of Edmonds. Best wishes in her new endeavors but leave with your head held high doing the right thing – giving up a position on the council for an Edmonds resident who can perform the duties of a councilmember.

    2. Indeed, Chris. No Councilperson “needs” to tell anything about their personal or family situation. Laura Johnson has been and plans to continue to be a hard-working, dedicated and ethical Councilperson. Thank you, Laura, for all you do.

    3. Laura Johnson’s residency is our business. She represents Edmonds citizens and we pay her salary. It’s required that councilmembers live in Edmonds. We need to know when she is no longer a resident, especially in the age of Zoom, when councilmembers can vote but not appear in person. The important decisions she is referring to will not affect her but will affect the rest of us. She should be focusing on the community she is moving to, not the one she is leaving. She should step aside for a resident who is committed to Edmonds and has a vested interest in the decisions made.

  4. Ms. Johnson,
    Clearly you have stated it is not your intent to remain a resident of Edmonds. Yet, you will be happy to stay “for now” and continue to vote on issues affecting the residents of Edmonds in the future. You plan to vote on our budget; the consequences of which will not affect you and your family. You intend to vote on the appointment of a new Councilperson; the consequences will not affect you. You confidently state renters can be on Council too. Yes, but it is the intent to reside in Edmonds, that matters. You no longer fulfill that requirement and are seemingly happy to state just that.
    Edmonds deserves more than your “for now”. Ethically you should resign and happily go where ever you please. Morally you should not be on Council when you have expressed that you will be moving out of state. Edmonds residents deserve a voice on Council who has a vested interest in Edmonds future not jut a “for now. Please just resign. It is the right thing to do.
    For you to remain on Council is an insult to Edmonds residents because your future will not be here, ours is.

  5. Councilperson Johnson is a resident of Edmonds. She doesn’t owe anyone an explanation about her future plans, no more than any other council member does. Should she choose to run in 2023, as long as she is a resident, she certainly may, just as any other current council member may. Why aren’t people questioning all current council members if they plan on running when their current term expires or what their future plans are? Councilperson Johnson is a current resident of Edmonds and that should end the discussion.

  6. While I’m no fan of most of Ms. Johnson’s decisions while on Council and I think she is confused about what that role actually should be, I also know she is a very fine human being who means well. She has every right to her privacy about her future plans and to remain on the Council as long as she actually lives in an Edmonds residence, owned or rented, and for as long a term as she has been elected. That said, I would not vote for her again and I would vote against her in any sort of recall, but she has every right to remain in her position for now, unless it is her choice to resign. She should not be harassed into doing anything IMO. We need to treat each other with some respect, even when we disagree. It’s supposed to be the American way. Not – only winning or being right counts.

    1. Fully agree with Mr Wright here. Councilperson Johnson’s future plans for her life are her business and her business alone. If she is no longer a resident of Edmonds in 2023, she won’t be able to run. I have to concur that she is a very decent person, and the accusative attitude of so many on this comment section is really disheartening to see. Like Mr Wright said- treat each other with respect. The accusations against Councilperson Johnson are overly conspiratorial, and honestly lack basic decency. I did not like many of her political stances either, but it is sad to see people here actively cheering her leaving Edmonds

  7. Don’t worry she never responded to any of the messages I sent either. In my mind the right thing to do is open up the seat to someone who will be here and have to live with the consequences of those decisions the sooner the better if you ask me. Happy trails

  8. If I were Ms. Johnson, I would resign, if I knew that I was absolutely going to be leaving Edmonds within my elected term or just after it. In my view of this office, this would be the right thing for me to do. Ms. Johnson may have a totally different view of what the right thing to do is. She may have some reason why she wants to influence decisions that may or may not affect her in any way after she leaves, assuming she does leave. Unless there is an official legal action to recall her, she has a right to remain in her position as long as she is a legal resident and has been elected by the majority. That’s just how it works. The ethics of this are totally in Ms. Johnson’s hands at this point, unless there is a properly formed and legal movement to recall her.

  9. I want to thank Councilmember Laura Johnson for her past service on Edmonds City Council. However, it is my understanding that she recently sold her house in Edmonds, that the sale is final, and that her stated intent is to move out of Edmonds. My guess is that the move will be accomplished sooner rather than later as the school year is starting. Some have commented that it is “none of our business” about Councilmember Johnson’s living arrangements. I would disagree in this case. I am not sure what the official rules are around a Councilperson who has a stated intent to move away and how long he/she may continue to sit on Council. On the other hand, it is clear that in the interest of fairness and ethics, she should provide the citizens here more information. Does Council/HR have an updated Edmonds’ address? The issues here become even murkier with the advent of Zoom meetings and votes. One could easily “attend” a meeting from another location.

  10. With the sale of her house and her intention to move away from Edmonds, Laura Johnson has in essence severed her ties here enough to mean that her continuing to sit on Council appears deceptive and unethical. In fact, both My Edmonds News and The Beacon thought it of enough importance to Edmonds’ citizens to ask her about it. This is not “harassment” as she is not a private citizen, but instead a public servant and sits in elected office. Unfortunately, Ms. Johnson declined to get back to either news platform.
    I don’t think it is too much to ask of our Councilmembers that their immediate future plans include living here in Edmonds, particularly when they will be voting on issues that determine the future of Edmonds.

  11. Edmonds School district 15 residency requirements to attend Edmonds schools.

    In order to verify residency within the district, ONE current documentation from the following list MUST be provided. The document must be dated within the last sixty days showing parent/guardian name and address (P.O. Box numbers are not acceptable as a
    residential address).
     Escrow papers, mortgage book or statement
     Residence insurance statement
     Lease/Rental Agreement with current rent receipt
     Gas Bill
     Electric Bill
     Water Bill
     Cable TV and internet bill
     Garbage bill
     Phone bill for a land line at the stated address

    The same residency requirements applies to Edmonds Elected Port Commissioner’s and Council Members

    Fred Gouge
    Former Port of Edmonds Commissioner 2000-2017

    1. There it is. She, needs to document her current address in the manner noted , or resign, or be subject to a recall petition and special election, if she can’t or won’t prove current residency in order to retain her position. It has both a legal and an ethical aspect in terms of what she needs to do both for herself and for us. If she does not have a legal address, she is serving herself, not us as she claims. Couch surfing or living with someone does not count.

      1. Clint Wright – Living with someone else certainly does qualify for residency. Considering all the interest in Councilperson Johnson’s living situation, I’m very confident that she meets the criteria. No other councilperson is being asked if they plan to move, if they plan to run when their term is up or what their immediate plans are. Nor is anyone asking Port Commissioners these questions. Life could change for any person on the council at any time so unless there is a legal reason to remove a councilperson from their position, let it go. Vote in the next election for whomever you want but if Councilperson Johnson’s desire is to fulfill her commitment that she made to voters when she ran for the position, I applaud her for it. Good for her for not being bullied into feeling the need to defend her position any further.

        1. Carol Junglov, I’m simply expressing my view that Laura has an ethical obligation to herself and fellow residents to provide some kind of proof that her legal residence is still Edmonds. By your standards anyone who just moves in with someone living here can be an elected city official. Unless she plans to actually reside here and run again in 2023, she needs to resign or at least recuse herself on votes with long range consequences. That’s just my opinion. As I’ve said all along, the ethical question is hers to answer. I will keep expressing my opinions whether you or she likes them or not. Thankyou.

  12. A peculiar story which is probably why it was newsworthy. Wishing her the best and that she is reunited with her family in Oregon soon.

  13. I’m really taken aback by some of the comments here. Someone’s future plans absolutely shouldn’t factor into their current ability to serve the city. Laura Johnson is already meeting the primary requirement of council members, that she be a resident. She’s also fully participating in meetings and other council business. That’s enough! Let’s stop probing into her private life and please let’s not make gossipy judgements about her choices. We’re better than that!

  14. Mary, I could care less about Laura’s private life, except I sincerely hope it’s happy and it’s good for her. I’m concerned about her view that if someone just says they live in Edmonds, they live in Edmonds. That was her take on homeless people setting up housekeeping in our parks and library and now it’s her view of her right to maintain her elected position as a “resident” after selling her home here and then refusing to prove her continued residency. No, under the circumstances she alone has created, I don’t want to see her in the position to help pick the next C.P.
    Since our city government has no real way to enforce codes and proper government official conduct, I’m sure she will get to do whatever she wants to do on this, so enough with the Crocodile tears for her.

  15. If another City Council member chose to move out of Edmonds, we would be having this same conversation. Being an elected city official requires Laura to provide more transparency than just stating “for now” to describe her current plans of being an Edmonds resident. Whether you like what she is doing on council, or not, she is obligated to share more details on her plans to remain an Edmonds resident. If she refuses, then our highly paid legal counsel should step in. No council member should be allowed to remain in their seat if they are living in another city.

  16. Apparently the current criteria for being a City Council Person is the ability to breath and a bedroom or sofa somewhere available in town to sleep on, or a park bench even. No wonder we have so many problems that don’t ever seem to get solved. Meanwhile our dedicated mayor and city staff are visioning about how tall the downtown mini-apartments should be and what streets to permanently block off for our European vibe to swell into it’s total wonderfulness. I’m torn between all this being just sad or totally comical. “Deadmonds” was great and I miss it more every day.

  17. This kind of issue has happened before when a council member who had a home in Edmonds married, and the spouse lived in Seattle. I do not recall the step by step details but some time passed with “2” houses before that council member officially resigned. Early on I recall that council member “claiming” to be an Edmonds resident.

    This type of conversation has occurred before. Being “House Less in Edmonds” does not mean one cannot be a renter somewhere or be staying with friends who live in Edmonds.

    The council is spending a great deal of their time sorting out the current appointment process. Will they have to do that again? If so picking 2 from the current process would have been more efficient.

  18. Darrol, I would say “staying with friends” is a pretty thin claim on the title of bring a “resident” in order to retain an elected position that involves long term planning and decision making that will impact long term actual residents for years to come. You make an excellent point about someone’s refusal to give up an elected position for the greater efficiency of picking two replacements now, rather than another one later. That just goes back to my point of one’s view of good and selfless ethical behavior. I see little concern about efficiency in this particular situation. I just see concern about either keeping a pay check; or keeping influence; or keeping both for as long as possible. In the end it just seems sort of sad, for lack of a better term.

  19. Darrol,

    The CM you referenced continued to own, and live in, property within the COE, until he resigned his position and moved to Seattle.

    It would be ethical for CM Johnson to report her change of address, and provide proof of residency (rental agreement, etc as outlined by former Port of Edmonds Commissioner Fred Gouge) to the appropriate parties, ie: the PDC (Public Disclosure Commission ) and the COE. One would think she would report her change of address to the COE to receive payment for her services.

    It would be ethical for CM Johnson to inform residents of Edmonds of the time frame of her continuance as a CM. “For now” is not enough. Many have felt that she has either ignored our input/emails, or has not demonstrated that she represents our interests in a non-partisan manner. Since it is clearly her intent to move out of state with her family, why does she feel the need to state “a few have chosen to harass me” rather than taking the stance of fully informing everyone regarding the time frame of her ultimate out of state move?

  20. If this is a matter of her just needing the compensation and/or fringe benefits as long as possible, I have no major problem with that, especially if she were to state she would abstain from all votes with long term consequences, such as choosing someone to finish K.J.’s term. Short of this, her stance begs the question of why she even wants to take part in decisions that will probably not have much or any affect on her in the future. How is this any sort of “harassment?” Just declaring yourself a victim, doesn’t make you a victim.

    At the risk of being accused of wanting the last word here, I would encourage Teresa to shut this thread down now unless Ms. Johnson wants to comment. It seems to me like everything that can be said about this has been pretty much said at this point, except Ms. Johnson clarifying her own thoughts and reasoning for staying on.

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