in Houston, Texas
American Traffic Solutions -- red-light camera vendor for Houston, Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving and Amarillo --- suspends exec for posting pro-camera comments under fake identity
Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 03:14PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
red-light camera sign

As far as anyone can tell, American Traffic Solutions Inc. has resorted only to the conventional lobbying method of throwing money around to grow its red-light camera business in Texas.

Until last week, at least one business development executive was making inroads in Washington state by cheerleading for the company and personally attacking opponents under an assumed name in dozens of comments left on the website of a local newspaper, according to a story in Seattle Weekly.

The Scottsdale, Ariz., company suspended Bill Kroske -- or W. Howard, as he signed his posts -- after a tech zen master with The Herald of Everett, Wash., traced W. Howard’s Internet protocol address back to American Traffic Solutions.

Company president and CEO James Tuton told The Herald in a statement that Kroske had been suspended.

“We appreciate this issue being brought to our attention and want to be clear: we do not encourage or condone the kind of behavior your investigation seems to have uncovered,” Tuton wrote. “ATS is disappointed and embarrassed by these actions. Such a lack of disclosure violates not only ATS company policy, but also our core values. While we share in the commenter's passion for red light safety cameras, we also recognize the importance of honest engagement. The employee in question has been suspended indefinitely pending further investigation.”

After Kroske’s exposure, a local red-light opponent Kroske had referred to in posts as “Slick Timmy Eyman” sent a congratulatory e-mail saying The Herald "has done the public a great service: They've exposed American Traffic Solutions for the total sleazeballs that they are."

However, other red-light commentators on the Herald’s website have suggested that American Traffic Solutions has implemented this novel anonymous public relations blitz on lots of other newspaper websites around the country. As yet, no other paper has investigated.

By less anonymous measures, red-light cameras are big business and American Traffic Solutions a significant player. Through this month, 538 American communities paid companies to install and operate red-light cameras, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Sixty-one of those communities, including Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth, are in Texas.

Houston voters in November rejected the cameras, and the city filed suit to end its ATS contract.

American Traffic Solutions boasts on its website of having 230 customers and installing 2,100 systems nationwide. Of those 61 Texas cities, ATS represents 26, including Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving and Amarillo, according to a map provided to Texas Watchdog by the company.

The company apparently isn’t done in Texas. Two legislative sessions ago American Traffic Solutions hired no lobbyists under that corporate name, according to legally required lobbying reports kept with the Texas Ethics Commission. For the 2009 session, the company hired two lobbyists at contracts of less than $10,000 each.

For this session, however, ATS has retained five lobbyists, one with a contract valued at between $100,000 and $149,999; two with $25,000 to $49,999 contracts; one with a contract of from $10,000 to $24,999; and one for less than $10,000, according to Ethics Commission records.

We assume that these five lobbyists have registered with the state under their real names.
 
***
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of red-light camera sign by flickr user fringehog, used via a Creative Commons license.
  • 1
Video
KTRK: On Big Screens for Billionaires, Comptroller Susan Combs Silent
Related Blogs and Media
Remembering Pfc. Nathaniel Given: A tender kiss Note: this post was first published on LoneStarTimes.com on Memorial Day, 2008. I first wrote about Nathan on January 6, 2007 after...
Update:12 hours 10 min
Big Jolly Politics
In-person-visitation bill nears finish line, grandfathers video-only facilities Legislation by Rep. Eric Johnson (SB 549) to require most Texas county jails to provide in-person visitation (grandfathering a baker's...
Update:1 day 18 hours
Grits for Breakfast
Abbott: Texas intends to comply with federal prison rape regs Reversing course from Gov. Rick Perry's rash decision last year, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that Texas will seek to fully comply with the...
Update:1 day 20 hours
Grits for Breakfast
This Memorial Day parade is brought to you (in part) by Kuwait and Taiwan (AP Photo/The Herald-Palladium, Don Campbell) Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and that means lots of activity in the nation’s...
Update:2 days 9 hours
Open Secrets
How We Remember And let’s not forget the true meaning of Memorial Day: to remember those who have fallen in service to us all. Swamplot will be back...
Update:2 days 9 hours
Swamplot
Mix at Midtown Garage Fire Knocked a Bunch of Upper Level Parking Spaces Out of Commission The parking garage behind the Mix at Midtown retail center between Louisiana and Milam south of Elgin St. is still in operation after last...
Update:2 days 10 hours
Swamplot
Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: This Big 26 Crest Gate [HAR] … Read...
Update:2 days 12 hours
Swamplot
Where the Paragon Outlet Mall for Houston Will Land, Out in Rosenberg A vote of Rosenberg’s City Council this Tuesday made it official: Paragon Outlet Partners will be building a sprawling outlet mall...
Update:2 days 13 hours
Swamplot
Gator in the Bayou Watch, Country Club Edition A Swamplot reader sends in these pics of a reptilian Houstonian out for a morning swim in the recently replenished waters of Brays Bayou...
Update:2 days 14 hours
Swamplot
FOX 26 KRIV and KPRC have good results in May 2015 sweeps Fox 26 KRIV kills the competition in the morning news, KPRC 2 continues to top late news In my blogging break post, I wrote that I would...
Update:2 days 15 hours
Mike McGuff
Daily Demolition Report: Story Is Over Once upon a time there was the end. Commercial Structures Patriot International, 10000 Manchester St. 77012 (Abst. 9 Callahan &...
Update:2 days 16 hours
Swamplot
Opening Day for Green and Purple Light Rail Lines; Ship Channel Sand for Galveston Beaches; Your Pie in the SkyHouse Metro’s 2 New Light Rail Lines Officially Open Tomorrow with Concert, Free Rides [Houston Public Media] Houston-Based Moody...
Update:2 days 17 hours
Swamplot
MAY 22 / The carelessness of the privileged UNCA D ATTENDED a social event last night. A considerable number of guests were high-net-worth individuals. The thing for the well-off to...
Update:2 days 18 hours
Unca Darrell
Still a chance for surcharge reform bills in home stretch With not much time to spare, CSSB 93, which in its revised form would make Texas DPS stop suspending driver licenses for unpaid Driver...
Update:2 days 21 hours
Grits for Breakfast
Confirmation Bias in Wine
Update:3 days 2 hours
Houston's Clear Thinkers
Inside Intelligence: About Those Secret Cameras... For this week’s nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked...
Update:3 days 3 hours
Texas Tribune
Univision & Telemundo claim top spots in Houston TV May sweeps 2015 Telemundo Houston is right behind Univision 45 KXLN in Houston TV May sweeps 2015 UPDATE MAY 22, 2015 FOX 26 KRIV and KPRC have good...
Update:3 days 5 hours
Mike McGuff
How you can help the Frazier girls Montgomery County area firefighters are leading efforts to raise funds for the children of Brad and Shea Frazier of Splendora, Texas. Brad,...
Update:3 days 7 hours
Big Jolly Politics
Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: Hone Sweet Hone 6206 Terwilliger Wy. [HAR] … Read...
Update:3 days 9 hours
Swamplot
New Vargos on the Lake Won’t Serve You Dinner, but You Can Cook in the Kitchen Yourself, and Stay a Whole Lot Longer The old Vargo’s Restaurant, a lakeside steak house and wedding venue nestled between Piney Point Village and the Westheimer strip...
Update:3 days 9 hours
Swamplot
Houstonians Think Houston Is 63 Percent Urban, Kinda In a guest post for ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight, Trulia’s chief economist trots out a bunch of maps and charts that purport to show...
Update:3 days 11 hours
Swamplot
Hillary Clinton, Morgan Stanley and TPP: A free trade triumvirate? (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) As pressure increases for 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton to say where she stands on the pending...
Update:3 days 12 hours
Open Secrets
The New Trucking Company Craft Brewery Opening This Fall in the Northside Beer and trucking: 2 great Texas pastimes will unite under one roof this September, once the brand new SpindleTap Brewery opens up its...
Update:3 days 13 hours
Swamplot
MAY 21 / It's about time somebody said this FOR STARTERS, the Clinton Foundation is not and never has been a charity. Bill and Hillary created it in 2001 as a vehicle to assist their...
Update:3 days 14 hours
Unca Darrell
Daily Demolition Report: Absolute Color Field The list of places you can’t wait to miss. Commercial Structures Absolute Color, 3482 W. 12th St. 77008 (Bldg....
Update:3 days 16 hours
Swamplot
The New College Campus in the Industrial Park; Inside La Grange; a Food Truck Park in Clear Lake Shores Everson Developments Planning Retail, Medical, and Commercial Development on 11 Acres at Research Forest Dr. and Egypt Ln. in Magnolia...
Update:3 days 17 hours
Swamplot
Dutton-Whitmire bill logjam breaking up: Truancy decrim, juvenile regionalization and grand-jury reform all still have time to pass The Texas House may get one final chance to vote on Sen. John Whitmire's legislation - now amended onto a passing house bill - to eliminate...
Update:3 days 18 hours
Grits for Breakfast
Lie Witness News – Kim Jong-Un Dancing With The Stars Edition
Update:4 days 1 hour
Houston's Clear Thinkers
Big speech could mean big money for Paul camp Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) speaks on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon. (Senate TV via AP) This story was cross-posted with the...
Update:4 days 6 hours
Open Secrets
Comment of the Day: The Rent Rush “One of the reasons rents have gotten pretty high in the last decade is people finally realized that owning a house is not what...
Update:4 days 9 hours
Swamplot
Where Bissonnet Meets Beechnut, and New Retail Defeats Old Can’t get enough of that old-shopping-center-knock-down action? Here, courtesy of the Brays Oaks management district, is a view of...
Update:4 days 10 hours
Swamplot
Knocking Back Some Old Time Retail and Hospitality on South Main If you’ve been staking out the demolition action around the Starbucks drive-thru at the corner of Buffalo Speedway and S. Main St.,...
Update:4 days 11 hours
Swamplot
Departed members of the 113th Congress find new homes on K Street, and elsewhere (Rex Features via AP Images) Former members of the 113th Congress have embarked on various new adventures since their defeats, retirements...
Update:4 days 12 hours
Open Secrets
Metro Keeping New Bus Routes Under Wraps Until August 16 Every route sign at every bus stop in Metro’s service area should now have a plastic bag over its head, the transit agency says....
Update:4 days 14 hours
Swamplot
MAY 20 / Is the party over in China? A CHINESE SCHOLAR writing under a pseudonym ("Youwei") argues that modern Chinese prosperity rests on easy reforms that have already been...
Update:4 days 15 hours
Unca Darrell
Daily Demolition Report: Cosby Homewrecker What did we have here? Hard to say, really.       Residences 1409 Ashland St. 77008 (garage only) 3927 Cosby St. 77021...
Update:4 days 16 hours
Swamplot
Texas Democrats willing to go to jail to raise taxes If you have ever wondered to what extent liberal Democrats (redundant, of course) will go in order to raise taxes on the people, well,...
Update:4 days 16 hours
Big Jolly Politics
Insurance Bills Could Have a Big Impact on Texas Most people find insurance regulation boring, and maybe that’s understandable. But in a state with some of the highest home insurance...
Update:4 days 17 hours
Big Jolly Politics
Houston’s Most Expensive, Deadest Neighborhoods; The $10 I-10 Toll; Drinking from Lake Conroe Tool-Flo To Move into New 80K-SF Headquarters, Manufacturing Facility in Pearland [HBJ] Groundbreaking Ceremony for Midtown Superblock...
Update:4 days 17 hours
Swamplot
On Montaigne
Update:5 days 1 hour
Houston's Clear Thinkers
Tweets
Karen Townsend | 2 years 10 months
"Patrick F. Kennedy is a career foreign service officer" - http://t.co/GOrCe0IS
Peter Corbett ✈ | 2 years 10 months
I'm at McCarran International Airport (LAS) w/ @almacy http://t.co/KvmId07i
KERA Public Media | 2 years 10 months
TONIGHT at 7pm on KERA TV: Presidential Debate: Learn more at PBS NewsHour. http://t.co/Z9kYdun8
PBS MediaShift | 2 years 10 months
Tech Snafus Make Bill O'Reilly/Jon Stewart 'Rumble' More of a Stumble http://t.co/4OfeBlrG (@kegill | @pbsmediashift) #rumble2012
Will Sullivan | 2 years 10 months
Great addition, been burned too much by bad subs. "Google Play Announces Free Trials For In-App Subscription Services" http://t.co/TOLgRVak
TxDOT | 2 years 10 months
I-35W/North Tarrant Express #constantcontact http://t.co/QDzrQumu
keyetv | 2 years 10 months
Serial shotgun robbers suspects arrested. http://t.co/ka8T4U9B
Karen Townsend | 2 years 10 months
Aren't State Dept career people suppose to be non-partisan? Not the political appointees, the career people. #Libya
San Antonio Current | 2 years 10 months
Go ahead, chalk it up http://t.co/YMWpC5wM #satx #chalkitup
Caller.com | 2 years 10 months
Scanner: Bathroom on fire in 600 block of Virginia, CC fire dept. on the way
Ballotpedia | 2 years 10 months
Does your state offer early voting? Do you qualify? Find out! #election2012 http://t.co/eodxBYVD
Dallas Morning News | 2 years 10 months
Why a Dallas-area cycling coach believed Lance Armstrong was drug-free (video) http://t.co/gURdYkj1
Caller.com | 2 years 10 months
Dozens of illegal waste dumpers sentenced in Jim Wells Co.; others on the run: http://t.co/NgerCdsQ
Karen Townsend | 2 years 10 months
Consistently impressed w/raullabrador when I listen to him in Congressional hearings. #Libya
Cory Crow | 2 years 10 months
Diigo: United raises fares by up to $10 per round trip - Business - http://t.co/kWY8gwPV http://t.co/bw25JP5R
News 4 WOAI | 2 years 10 months
If you see news in or around San Antonio 'SEND IT' to @NEWS4WOAI here: http://t.co/uMqbMXQv OR email us at: NEWSDESK@WOAITV.COM
swamplot | 2 years 10 months
Mining Houston Garbage for Recycling and Compost Gold http://t.co/HMMBArMX
swamplot | 2 years 10 months
Daily Demolition Report: Tulane Highway http://t.co/JXmkSx11
KFDA NewsChannel10 | 2 years 10 months
Obama and Romney: Where they stand on the issues http://t.co/y3VrPfkM
Williamson County | 2 years 10 months
Mental Health Awareness Week FREE Webinar:"Understanding Depression-How to Help You or a Loved One" Thurs,Oct 11@1pm-https://t.co/YUWi19WY
© 2015 TEXAS WATCHDOG and USELABS. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use and Privacy Statement