First of all, let me give P-I columnist Joel Connelly a whisper of props for at least acknowledging that if we're going to grow, that growth should be "concentrat[ed] around transit corridors."

But the rest of today's column—in which he mocks me for not being born here (got here quick as I could, Joel), refers to pro-density legislation as "authoritarianism" (yep, just like that fascist Growth Management Act) and suggests that "local initiative" from Seattle, Tacoma, and other cities in the region will ensure density happens in a way that makes everyone happy (because that's worked so well so far).

I won't belabor the silliness of those arguments. What I will say is that the premise of the entire column—its headline is "How will we fit 15 more Seattles here?"—is exactly the kind of fearmongering misrepresentation of facts that leads homeowners in single-family neighborhoods to shriek that environmentalists are "trying to force us to live in shoeboxes and give up our cars."

First, Connelly skips lightly over the fact that the projection he uses is for the next 100 years—a time horizon we need to plan for, yes, but not an influx that's going to change the face of our cities irreparably tomorrow. Moreover, the shorter the horizon, the more accurate the predictions. That's one reason most people who write about density (including reporters at the Seattle P-I) usually cite the Puget Sound Regional Council's forecast that the region will grow by 1.1 million by 2030.

Second, although Connelly's numbers sound scary, they're misleading. Here's where the "15 Seattles" number came from: According to the Cascade Land Conservancy, the population of the entire Puget Sound region is expected to "double in the next century, growing to more than 10 million people, about the size of Los Angeles today." In other words, the population of this region is going to grow to include the equivalent of one more Puget Sound region in the next 100 years. Much of that growth, according to Cascade Land Conservancy director Gene Duvorny, "is already here, in the sense that it is our kids and grandkids we’re talking about." So more accurate headline would've been "How will we accommodate 100-percent population growth in the next 100 years?"

But making it sound like Seattle is going to grow to 16 times its current size, tomorrow, makes for a much more eyeball-grabbing story.