OOBT

 1. The New York Times focuses on Seattle in its profile of homeless young adults in America, whose numbers have been growing since the recession.

The article reports on Roots, one of Seattle's few shelters that caters to homeless teens and young adults, only has 35 beds, which are assigned on a lottery basis.

President Obama has proposed a new initiative to serve young homeless people in selected large U.S. communities, including King County.   

2. The Seattle Times has a piece about Gov. Chris Gregoire's proposal to increase gas taxes to pay for school buses. Titled, in the Times' usual totally unbiased fashion, "Gregoire's plan to pay for school buses may cost motorists," the story strongly implies that funding school buses for kids will make gas more expensive and make commuting more difficult, and fails to include a single paragraph about why more school buses for kids might be a good idea.

Those lazy kids should just drive themselves to school, I guess.

3. Republicans in Congress are still opposing the Violence Against Women Act because it protects too many women (specifically, Native Americans, women who weren't born here, and lesbians).

Washington state Sen. Patty Murray, for one, is "baffled."

Washington state Sen. Patty Murray, for one, is "baffled."

Jezebel, which quotes Murray at length, writes, "the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) never used to be partisan—it was annually reauthorized for 18 years until it expired in September 2011. Why? Because new protections were added into the Senate bill for undocumented immigrants, members of the LGBT community, and Native American women. That simply would not do for the House Republicans, who said the additions were 'political' and passed their own bill without them."

4. Highway advocates frequently argue that state gas taxes can't be used to pay for transit (or anything but highways) because of the 18th Amendment to the state constitution.

Seattle Transit Blog's Alex Broner disagrees, pointing out bluntly that the 18th Amendment actually restricts gas taxes to, and I'm quoting the constitution here, "highway purposes ... [that] include ... The necessary operating, engineering and legal expenses connected with the administration of public highways, county roads and city streets [and] (b) The construction, reconstruction, maintenance, repair, and betterment of public highways, county roads, bridges and city streets."

That seems like pretty strong evidence that gas taxes could be used to augment the Seattle Department of Transportation's budget, which pays for road maintenance, street repairs, bridge maintenance, traffic signals—and, maybe, transit improvements on city streets.