Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Kyle Kim's Profile

Email: yong (dot) kyle (dot) kim (at) gmail (dot) com
Kyle Kim is a recent graduate and aspiring international reporter. Having earned a Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communication from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, Kyle spent his past four years doing everything from live-tweeting reports, producing video content, packaging online audio-visual galleries, creating websites, managing content systems and writing in-depth reports.

Past internships include working for the Los Angeles Daily News as a multimedia reporter and Yahoo!'s digital news desk in Sydney as a political news producer during Australia's 2010 federal election.

He now works for the Global Post, based in Boston, Mass.


Kyle Kim's Recent Posts

Weak job growth triggers frustration for Washington’s unemployed

September 22nd, 2011

When Tommy Lamoth lost her job in 2009, she didn’t envision a job hunt that would include eight months of collecting unemployment benefits, ping-ponging between temp jobs across Seattle, and still being unable to find work in her field after a year.

The 32-year-old Capitol Hill resident was one of millions of unemployed workers throughout the nation during a year when unemployment rates in the U.S. reached a height not seen in more than 25 years.

The latest unemployment figures for Washington show the state had a 9.3 percent rate for August 2011 – a marginal change from the 9.4 unemployment rate the year before. The Seattle metro region’s 8.9 percent unemployment rate last month was little better than the 9.1 percent rate last year.

Public Data Ferret Economy archive

The state’s job growth of 46,600 seasonally-adjusted new jobs from August 2010 to 2011 comes in stark contrast against the 321,600 currently unemployed in Washington. Lamoth’s chronic unemployment has been a sobering reminder of the difficult realities many face.

“It makes me feel like a total loser,” Lamoth said. “It definitely takes a toll on your self-esteem when you’ve gone so long without working.” Despite having earned a bachelor’s degree and later enrolling at Columbia University ‘s film and creative writing program, Lamoth has only been able to find work in temporary clerical positions.

Having previous experience as a midwife’s assistant, she has also kept her eyes open for opportunities in the field but has been able to find openings. Lamoth isn’t alone in her inability to find work in the state.

Unemployment rates ballooned in all 39 Washington counties since 2007 with jobs in construction and finance activities being the hardest hit, according to the 2010 Washington State Labor Market and Economic Report

Data from the Washington State Employment Security Department show half of the state had unemployment rates at least double since 2007, including the state’s three largest labor markets – King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties – which make up over half of the state’s job force with roughly 1.9 million workers.

Washington’s unemployment rate has consistently ranked in the middle nationally. Other states have fared worse during the Great Recession, such as California, Michigan and Nevada – with unemployment rates that reached over 12 percent in 2010. However, certain counties in Washington experience worse.

The northeastern and southwestern areas of Washington have consistently experienced the highest unemployment rates in the state since 2000: Ferry County currently tops the state’s highest annual unemployment rate at 14.7, percent with Pend Oreille, Clark and Wahkiakum Counties all tying for second at 13.7 percent. Whitman County held the lowest unemployment rate for 2010 at 6.1 percent.

The counties have been hit particularly hard due to the lack of economic investment and large labor shares in industries that were affected most – like manufacturing, mining and timber industries, according to state Employment Security Department economists.

Washington state unemployment rates by county, 2007 to 2010.
But where jobs in certain industries have been significantly shed, others are expected to grow.

Jobs in education, health services and business are projected to increase significantly by 2018 for Washington, according to state labor reports.

However, the job growth may not be fast enough, or in the right industry, for Lamoth. She said the lack of opportunities in her field can get frustrating. She has sent roughly 480 resumes since last September, mainly for writing and editing positions in Seattle, a profession that has continually shrunk its work force and is projected to further decline.

Lamoth has been considering looking for work outside the Seattle area despite being limited to public transportation. She said she takes things a day at a time. “There are days that I’m too depressed to look for work,” Lamoth said. “But I’m not ready to give up.”

Data set: Washington unemployment rates by county, 2000 to 2010.
Date set: Comprehensive state labor market data, 2009

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Federal Reserve: mainly, we buy American

August 22nd, 2011

SUMMARY: China’s rising inflation and labor costs will have little effect in increasing American prices because, despite perceptions to the contrary, China has a small share of the U.S. consumer market, according to a recently-released economic report by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Data from the report show that only 2.7 percent of American consumer spending is for “Made In China” goods and services versus 88.5 percent for U.S.-made items. Additionally, the majority of money that Americans spent on Chinese products went for U.S. marketing, transportation and sales of Chinese goods. As a percentage of 2010 U.S. Gross Domestic Product, U.S. spending on imports was only 16 percent, with China representing a 2.5 percent slice. The Federal Reserve Bank report says this suggests that “although globalization is widely recognized these days, the U.S. economy actually remains relatively closed.” Read the rest of this entry »

UW report: charter schools part of the learning gap solution

August 4th, 2011

SUMMARY: Incorporating high-performing charter schools in public school districts can help overcome the achievement gap between minority and white students, according to a paper released by the University of Washington’s Center On Reinventing Public Education. Many charter schools across the nation have demonstrated a replicable and sustainable model for fostering high academic achievement in urban schools where disparate gaps existed based on race and income. Some of the approaches that have worked are longer school days, intensive tutoring and assessment, mandating quick phone responses by staff to parent question and concerns, and tying receipt of the high school diploma to acceptance by a four-year college. Read the rest of this entry »

State Supreme Court: Bothell violated defendant’s civil right to fair trial

August 2nd, 2011

SUMMARY: The Washington Supreme Court late last week confirmed a man convicted of stalking in Bothell will get a new trial because he didn’t get a fair hearing of his peers. The justices ruled that under the state constitution, the city court erred in permitting King County residents on the jury, when the alleged crime was committed in the Snohomish County part of Bothell. Bothell is one of six Washington cities which are in more than one county. The case will now go back to Bothell Municipal Court for a new trial.

KEY LINK: “City of Bothell v. Barnhart,” Supreme Court of the State of Washington, July 28, 2011.


  • The Washington State Supreme Court last week upheld an earlier State Court of Appeals ruling that the City of Bothell violated James K. Barnhart’s civil right to a fair trial on April 2007 stalking charges because two members of the jury which convicted him lived outside Snohomish County, where the alleged crime occurred.
  • Barnhart in 2010 appealed his stalking conviction to the King County Superior Court, claiming the jury’s composition in the Bothell Municipal Court case violated his civil rights to a fair trial under Article I, Section 22 of the state constitution, which states in part that criminal defendants are entitled “to have a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of the county in which the offense is charged to have been committed.” King County Superior Court sided with the original court’s judgment but the decision was later reversed by the Washington Court of Appeals.
  • Bothell appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing in part that Barnhart waived any claim of error by failing to exercise his peremptory challenges – a legal right to reject during selection a certain number of potential jurors whom appear to have an unfavorable bias – and that any error that did occur was harmless.
  • However, the State Supreme Court ruled the selection of the jurors indeed violated Barnhart’s rights under article I, section 22 of the Washington Constitution, the Declaration of Rights.
  • The high court sent the case back to Bothell Municipal Court, for a new trial, with a jury composed exclusively of Snohomish County residents.
  • Public Data Ferret’s Washington state and courts archive

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    Lately, In Transparency #3

    August 1st, 2011

    To complement the work at Public Data Ferret hub, we’re using the Ferret’s Twitter account to accent news highlights from the world of government transparency, freedom of the press and human rights. Here are some of our most recent finds.

    U.S. plastic surgery infographic. Despite the struggling U.S. economy, plastic surgery was up 5 percent in 2010 over 2009’s total. U.S. consumers spent more than $10 billion on 13 million procedures. Which body parts got the most attention? The Guardian’s DataBlog provides a handy infographic.

    Is Bell ready for reform? The interim administrator of the scandal-plagued city of Bell, California, located in Los Angeles County, left his position Monday amid the city’s budget crisis, the Los Angeles Times reports. It’s unclear how reforms will proceed as the city council struggles to recover from the debt and mismanagement under a previous administration which earned broad notoriety for inflated salaries and benefits which escaped public notice.

    Immigration asylum petitions: tough sledding. U.S. immigration judges have denied most asylum petitions in the last five years, according to The Texas Tribune. Their report is based on the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonpartisan public records clearinghouse based at Syracuse University. The organization analyzed the decisions of 265 immigration judges across the U.S.

    U.K. observer: Govt. data dumps don’t equal transparency. The posting online of voluminous public data sets does not equate to government transparency, a British parliamentary committee chairman said hours after UK Prime Minister David Cameron made new transparency commitments. Via

    Online sunshine for Congressionally-required agency reports? Under a proposed Senate bill, the Government Printing Office would launch and maintain a website containing electronic copies of all U.S. agency reports required by Congress. From Federal Computer Week.

    An unfree press in Sudan. Reporters Without Borders reports a female journalist for the daily Al-Jarida was sentenced to a fine of 2,000 Sudanese pounds (864 U.S. dollars) or a month in jail for reporting on an alleged sexual assault a female activists claims she suffered from members of the Sudanese security forces. Amal Habani was taken to Omdurman women’s prison July 25, 2011 and was released from prison July 27, 2011 after her colleagues paid the fine.

    Seattle’s own Common Language Project gets CJR write-up. The Seattle-based Common Language Project was was profiled by the Columbia Journalism Review, highlighting the organization’s focus on creating in-depth human rights news and multimedia storytelling. CLP is a non-profit group dedicated to covering underreported international issues on different platforms.

    U.S. military contracts keep rolling into WA. The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded Puyallup, Wash. company Absher Construction a $35,275,888 contract to build an enlisted personnel housing facility at the U.S. Army’s Schofield Barracks in Oahu, Hawaii. Via Public Data Ferret.

    Don’t drink the water? The director of the U.S. Government Accountability Office of Natural Resources and Environment testified to a senate committee that the Environmental Protection Agency continues to fail to adequately safeguard the nation’s drinking water. David Trimble said the EPA’s lack of focus on potential impacts of certain toxic agents and pollutants in the nation’s public drinking water requires more rigorous science and procedures. Via Public Data Ferret.

    $425K proposed fine for Cascade Natural Gas. Public Data Ferret reported that Kennewick, Wash.-based Cascade Natural Gas Corp. has agreed to pay $425,000 in state and federal safety violations under a proposed settlement between the company and the the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. Cascade is also subject to another $1.8 million in fines if it fails to deliver on additional corrective actions outlined in the draft agreement.

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    Cascade Natural Gas will pay $425,000 safety fine to state, under proposed settlement

    July 22nd, 2011

    SUMMARY: Cascade Natural Gas Corp. has agreed to pay a $425,000 fine for breaking a number of state and federal gas safety laws and under the proposed settlement announced last week with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, is subject to another $1.8 million in fines if it fails to deliver on additional corrective actions including implementing safety and quality assurance programs, and updating their pipeline maps. Commission staff in March 2011 detailed 364 alleged violations by Cascade following a two-year sequence of safety inspections of its pipeline facilities, in addition to an investigation of an “over-pressure” incident. The gas company admitted to having failed to comply with a number of state and federal rules regarding inspection, monitoring and maintenance of its pipeline network, but Cascade does not concede it committed all of the alleged violations. The settlement must still be formally finalized by the UTC board but Cascade has already agreed to the terms. Read the rest of this entry »

    U.S. report: Worst human trafficking in Africa, Middle East

    July 18th, 2011

    SUMMARY: A Public Data Ferret interactive mapped data project below shows the full country-by-country assessments in the U.S. Department of State’s recently-released 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report. Of 184 counties evaluated in the report, the State Department ranked 23 in the “Tier 3” or worst category. Countries with a Tier 3 ranking are governments who do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act‘s minimum standards of human trafficking prevention and are not making significant efforts to do so. Roughly 70 percent of the Tier 3 countries are located in Northern Africa and the Middle East. The State Department identified 33,113 victims of human trafficking in 2010, a third less than the amount reported the previous year. However, since human trafficking crimes are underreported, the numbers provided by the department may not reflect the full extent of actual occurrences.

    The U.S. State Department’s 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report globally assessed forced labor, sex slavery, forced conscription of child soldiers and related concerns. (View complete list of human trafficking categories). Public Data Ferret created an interactive map below with information for each ranked country (view spreadsheet of compiled data). Countries are ranked in one of four categories.

    Tier 1: Countries whose governments fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act minimum standards.

    Tier 2: Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

    Tier 2 watch list: Countries where trafficking is significant or significantly increasing and governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making serious efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

    Tier 3: Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.

    Special cases: the worst three countries – Somalia, Sierra Leone and Haiti, each of which has been subject to either extreme natural disaster or severe conflict. (Details here in a recent Public Data Ferret synopsis).

    DATA MAP INSTRUCTIONS: Red indicates Tier 3 countries and special cases; Yellow is Tier 2; and Green are Tier 1. Use the navigation arrows and zoom in or zoom out (plus or minus signs) as desired, and click on any country. A pop-up box will confirm the country’s name and ranking, and provide a link to the section of the State Department 2011 report detailing human trafficking findings for that nation.

    RELATED: U.S. State Department 2010 Trafficking In Persons Report, Public Data Ferret, June 14, 2010.

    Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

    Enumclaw finalizes $900,000 public-private funding package for new multi-use sports field

    July 18th, 2011

    SUMMARY: The city of Enumclaw passed an ordinance last week to accept a $300,000 state grant that completes a public-private funding package for a $900,000 project at the Enumclaw Expo Center complex, where a poorly-draining and deteriorated natural turf football field at Pete’s Pool will be replaced with a multi-purpose artificial turf surface. The Recreation and Conservation Office of Washington State awarded the grant conditioned on a double-match amount being raised from other sources. Your Enumclaw Area Stadium (YEAS), the non-profit group in charge of fundraising for the project, has secured the necessary matching funds for the RCO grant, city public works director Chris Searcy said. Slightly more than half, or $325,000 of the $600,000 match required for the RCO grant came via previous grants from the National Football League and King County. The remaining $275,000 of the double-match funding comes from cash donations ($175,000) and in-kind donations of labor, construction equipment and materials ($100,000) Searcy said. The majority of the project’s construction started July 6 and is expected to be finished by August. Read the rest of this entry »