May 18, 2011
Everett Herald exposes fraud and manipulation by red-light camera company -- "They are total sleazeballs" says Eyman

The Everett Herald has done the public a great service: they've exposed American Traffic Solutions "ATS" for the total sleazeballs that they are. The 20+ cities in Washington and ATS have hundreds of millions of dollars in profits on the line from automatic ticketing cameras and the Everett Herald has exposed the lengths they'll go to as a corporate policy to protect those profits:

Meet reader 'W Howard,' undercover traffic cam exec

By Scott North and Rikki King, Everett Herald, Tuesday, May 17, 2011,

The controversy surrounding traffic enforcement cameras has been a big draw for people who post comments to Heraldnet.com. Some folks seem compelled to weigh in with opinions on nearly every story. Apparently that includes at least one vice president at an Arizona-based camera company.

A poster using the screen name "W Howard" has commented 43 times on our site since June. The unifying themes in these posts are that the cameras are good, that they are making the world safer and that anyone who says otherwise -- particularly Mukilteo initiative activist Tim Eyman -- needs their head examined.

Some readers have suggested "W Howard" has been posting comments as part of a marketing campaign run by American Traffic Solutions, Inc. The Scottsdale-based company contracts to provide enforcement camera services in Lynnwood and Seattle. It had inked a similar deal in Mukilteo last year, then Eyman pushed for a public vote. Upshot: no cameras in Mukilteo, and a spreading movement around Washington that has growing numbers of people asking questions about enforcement camera technology.

Heraldnet.com requires that people who wish to post comments supply us with a live email address at the time they create their user account. "W Howard" gave an address at American Traffic Solutions. It is one used by Bill Kroske, vice president of business development at ATS. Somebody techie here ran down the internet protocol address that's being used for "W Howard's" posts. The electronic trail led straight back to Kroske's company in Scottsdale.

Kroske pitched Mukilteo on the cameras. He recently was in Bellingham, suggesting a similar arrangement. He's been the public face of American Traffic Solutions in arranging camera contracts in Washington.

We wrote him Tuesday asking about the posts. Why not simply stand behind your product, out in the open?

That got a quick response from Charles Territo, vice president of communications at American Traffic Solutions. He didn't address whether Kroske is behind the "W Howard" posts. He did offer this statement: "There is no coordinated effort at ATS to engage in commenting. However, it is not surprising that our employees like many other advocates feel strongly about the benefits red light safety cameras provide. The views expressed by our employees are strictly theirs." He said any comments offered by ATS can be found on their Facebook, Twitter or Youtube pages.

"ATS is not now and has not ever been shy about our support for the use of red-light safety cameras," Territo added. "However, the only official positions from ATS come from our communications department."

Eyman chuckled when told about the Kroske connection.

"It shows a level of sophistication and manipulation," he said. " ... If you've got a product that everybody loves it is going to be self evident. You don't need to manipulate web sites, sounding boards and impersonate local folks to get the message out."

In a strange sort of poetic justice, other readers already have taken "W Howard" to task. You can read those comment threads here, where he gets called out, and here, where he confuses us with Canada -- and gets caught.

-- END --

We encourage everyone to email Bill H. Kroske, Vice President of Business Development for ATS (aka "W Howard") and James D. Tuton, the President and CEO and ATS' other corporate officers and let them know clearly, firmly, and passionately that their lying, cheating, stealing corporate mission isn't wanted in Washington. Tell James D. Tuton that if Bill H. Kroske is not immediately disciplined, then it is obvious that his fraudulent, manipulative actions are accepted and encouraged by ATS.

Email them immediately: bill.kroske@atsol.com; james.tuton@atsol.com; adam.tuton@atsol.com; adam.draizin@atsol.com; john.petrozza@atsol.com; john.goldsberry@atsol.com; tim_eyman@comcast.net;

And make sure to 'cc' some of the city officials in Washington who've gotten in bed with these sleazeballs: rzimmerman@ci.monroe.wa.us; councilmembers@ci.monroe.wa.us; kgoering@ci.monroe.wa.us; pcudaback@ci.monroe.wa.us; twilliams@ci.monroe.wa.us; tbalk@ci.monroe.wa.us; jstima@ci.monroe.wa.us; mrodriguez@ci.monroe.wa.us; btuttle@ci.monroe.wa.us; mayorsoffice@cob.org; jweiss@cob.org; gknutson@cob.org; bbuchanan@cob.org; ssnapp@cob.org; tbornemann@cob.org; mlilliquist@cob.org; sfleetwood@cob.org; ccmail@cob.org; kurt.anagnostou@ci.longview.wa.us; chuck.wallace@ci.longview.wa.us; ken.botero@ci.longview.wa.us; don.jensen@ci.longview.wa.us; maryjane.melink@ci.longview.wa.us; chet.makinster@ci.longview.wa.us; dennis.weber@ci.longview.wa.us; djohnson@cityofwenatchee.com; jmbailey@wenatcheewa.gov; tveeder@wenatcheewa.gov; krutherford@wenatcheewa.gov; dmiller@wenatcheewa.gov; mkulaas@wenatcheewa.gov; dgurnard@wenatcheewa.gov; ccase@wenatcheewa.gov; mayor@redmond.gov; kallen@redmond.gov; dcarson@redmond.gov; rgcole@frontier.com; hmargeson@redmond.gov; hmyers@redmond.gov; jcstilin@redmond.gov; jcstilin@redmond.gov; council@redmond.gov; mayorcouncil@redmond.gov; jmarine@ci.mukilteo.wa.us; rlord@ci.mukilteo.wa.us; remery@ci.mukilteo.wa.us; lgrafer@ci.mukilteo.wa.us; jgregerson@ci.mukilteo.wa.us; kstoltz@ci.mukilteo.wa.us; ttinsley@ci.mukilteo.wa.us; evanderwielen@ci.mukilteo.wa.us; aceniza@ci.lynnwood.wa.us; marksmith@ci.lynnwood.wa.us; klonergan@ci.lynnwood.wa.us; kcole@ci.lynnwood.wa.us; lsimmonds@ci.lynnwood.wa.us; edosremedios@ci.lynnwood.wa.us; thikel@ci.lynnwood.wa.us; jimsmithcfi@msn.com; jsmith@ci.lynnwood.wa.us; mike.mcginn@seattle.gov; becky.stanley@seattle.gov; richard.conlin@seattle.gov; sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov; tim.burgess@seattle.gov; sally.clark@seattle.gov; jean.godden@seattle.gov; bruce.harrell@seattle.gov; nick.licata@seattle.gov; mike.obrien@seattle.gov; tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov; tim_eyman@comcast.net;

Finally, notice that there is a clear pattern of deception by these sleazy, for-profit, out-of-state red-light camera companies:

Scottsdale Red-Light Camera Firm Stands Behind Astroturf Campaign in Mukilteo

Traffic Camera Front Group Tries To Block Voter Referendum

Does ATS think we're stupid? Arizona red light camera company continues pattern of deception

More camera company front groups discovered -- More Evidence Shows that Traffic Camera Vendor, ATS, Falls Short of Meeting Washington State's Ethical Standards

Posted by Tim Eyman at May 18, 2011 09:51 AM | Email This
Comments
1. 43 posts on Heraldnet.com? Tim, I think you can beat that amount!

Just goes to show that nothing is truly anonymous on the Internet. Now, don't say anything to my boss!

Posted by: dv90821 on May 18, 2011 10:42 AM
2. Where do I get my Swiss Bank Account from ATS? Wait I am running for office!

Would it be wrong to disable these cameras as an act of reclaiming our liberty? Oh wait there I go reading the Constitution about have an officer of the court present.

We should organize a true flash mob and everyone go to someone's house with their big 35 mm SLR camera flashes and take pictures of their houses no stop with all the flashes going off and issuing tickets for the grass being too high...because really when will ATS stop...webcams in our houses to see if we are eating too much food...oh wait San Antonio schools beat us to that...

Posted by: Col. Hogan on May 18, 2011 12:31 PM
3. Earlier today someone intercepted and sent me this confidential message from W Howard to Tim Eyeman.

Tim:

In the future when you're exposing my secret identity all over the 'net, please refer to me as Dr. Kroske, as I have a Ph.D. If you had a Ph.D. I would do the same for you.

If you will refer to my profile on linkedin.com (under my given first name William), you will note that my doctorate is from Heed University, http://www.heed.edu/degree.htm. I know Heed is not the Ivy League, but it is a real degree, not one of those fake or honorary ones. I had to pay them $10,500 cash for it - they wouldn't take a check!

I'm way over qualified for this position - selling red light cameras is not exactly rocket science - but ATS wanted a Ph.D. in this slot (VP of Business Development) because it impresses gullible politicians, and also because there is a Ph.D. (Aaron Rosenberg) doing this job over at Redflex. Gotta keep up with the Joneses, ya know.

Be seeing you around, I'm sure!

W Howard (That's my middle name.)

Posted by: Henry on May 18, 2011 05:23 PM
4. It warms my heart to know that the Everett fish wrap is basing their jounolistic viewpoints based on reader comments.

Posted by: Z on May 18, 2011 05:47 PM
5. You only have to look at how these cameras are positioned to see that they are only money makers. All of the red light cameras that I see are aimed at right turn on red drivers. I don't think the rolling right turn people are the big cause of accidents. If they were truly concerned about safety they would be catching the people who run straight through a red light or those who race through a left turn.

Posted by: William on May 18, 2011 09:26 PM
6. W Howard is getting famous... infamous?

The Pseudonymous Concerned Pseudo-Citizen

"That makes Kroske a Saul Alinsky of marketing".

Posted by: RagnarDanneskold on May 19, 2011 08:23 AM
7. OT William, but funny about that. Just yesterday as I slowed to stop for a red light at a major intersection, I watched a bicyclist in front of me fail to signal or even slow down before making a "right on red" turn.

That said, red light cameras are a scam that have no provable positive impact on safety. Kind of like painting pictures of bicycles on the roadway.

Posted by: Mom on May 19, 2011 11:41 AM
8. Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

Posted by: momochii on May 21, 2011 06:41 AM
9. I mean, granted this is sleazy, but ultimately the criticism is that this guy is attacking political figures on the internet whose interests run counter to his business.

So... he's using the internet and politics to make money.

Umm... Tim? You say he's a total sleazeball? I kinda have to agree with you there...

Posted by: AD on May 22, 2011 08:34 AM
10. I make it a point of:

1. Not shopping or traveling in any city that deploys these cameras.

2. I let them know that this is my decision and why i will not visit their town

Posted by: gs on May 22, 2011 11:20 PM
11. Do not respond to the ticket if it comes in the mail. It is not certified mail and you only opt in when you respond.

Posted by: Mike Johnson on May 23, 2011 08:23 AM
12. Do not respond to the ticket if it comes in the mail. It is not certified mail and you only opt in when you respond.

Posted by: Mike Johnson on May 23, 2011 08:27 AM
13. Possibly VERY bad advice, Mike Johnson. They will give you 30-90 days to pay before adding a delinquent fee. A few months after that (180 days or so) and you'll be dealing with the collection agency they sold the debt to.

Notice of a fine or debt does not need to be sent through certified mail to be valid (ask Comcast or PSE -- they don't send your monthly bill certified). Pretending it doesn't exist because it wasn't sent certified doesn't protect you. It only gives you the potential excuse "Oh, but I never received notice." You think you'll be the first person to try that one? EVERYONE TRIES THAT.

Posted by: AD on May 24, 2011 06:26 PM
14. Great information! I've been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

Posted by: Fallon Gean on May 25, 2011 03:19 AM
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