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July 17, 2009 at 1:00 PM

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Michael McGinn would also replace Seattle transportation director

Posted by Emily Heffter

Seattle mayoral candidate Joe Mallahan this week called on Seattle Department of Transportation Director Grace Crunican to resign, saying the mayor should have gotten rid of her long ago.

Mallahan's criticisms of Crunican are about her management -- in particular of a big snowstorm in December.

I asked Seattle Councilmember Jan Drago, also a candidate and chairwoman of the council's Transportation Committee, whether she would fire Crunican if she wins. She toed the political line and said she'd evaluate all department heads if she's elected.

But I wondered what environmentalist candidate Michael McGinn would say about Crunican. He's been outspoken about Mayor Greg Nickels' transportation policies. He opposes them, especially a planned tunnel on the waterfront. But McGinn campaigns nice. I wasn't sure he'd want to make Crunican a campaign issue.

He hesitated, and made a point to say Crunican is a "public servant," but eventually landed here: "I don't see keeping Grace Crunican."

The snowstorm is part of the problem, he said, but "we need a new approach to transportation in this city ... I think the public would want to see change in the Department of Transportation."

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Jim Brunner
Covers politics.

Keith Ervin
Covers the Eastside.

Andrew Garber
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.

Emily Heffter
Covers local government.

Mike Lindblom
Covers transportation.

Kyung Song
Covers politics and regional issues from Washington, D.C.

Lynn Thompson
Covers Seattle City Hall.

Bob Young
Covers King County and urban affairs.