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
Is it time for the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan in Texas? by Jay Wall One casualty of the partisan rancor in the November elections was the Harris County judiciary. Sitting judges with...
Update:13 hours 54 min
Big Jolly Politics
Justin Yu To Close Oxheart, Spend Some Time in the Heights Next in the line of succession for the corner spot at 1302 Nance St. currently occupied by Oxheart: . . . well, something else. So says...
Update:1 day 4 hours
Swamplot
The Final Category of the 2016 Swamplot Awards: Greatest Moment in Houston Real Estate We’ve come to the eighth and final category for this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. So far this week...
Update:1 day 5 hours
Swamplot
City Wants To Create Historic District To Protect What’s Left of Freedmen’s Town Historic District Following last month’s sudden brick relocation incident, Mayor Turner has announced a plan to make a plan to create a...
Update:1 day 8 hours
Swamplot
Swamplot Sponsor: Central Bank Our sponsor on Swamplot today is Houston’s own Central Bank. Thank you for the continuing support! Central Bank has 4 (central)...
Update:1 day 9 hours
Swamplot
Now Open: Nominations for Swamplot’s 2016 Neighborhood of the Year Award We’re almost done introducing the categories in this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. So far, we’ve...
Update:1 day 10 hours
Swamplot
The 6-Story Ex-Uncle Bob’s Now Standing by the Ex-Wabash Feed Store on Washington Ave The old Wabash Feed & Garden building on Washington Ave. may still be sorting out its current relationship status, and missing the...
Update:1 day 10 hours
Swamplot
College Football: The CFP is designed to take the money and run.....unless. There's starting to be a growing amount of writing suggesting that an expansion of the College Football Playoff, from 4 to 8 teams, is...
Update:1 day 13 hours
Cory Crow
Downtown DoubleTree Trades Hands; What’s Replacing Tal’s Hill Brookfield Property Partners Acquires Downtown DoubleTree Hotel, Planning Renovations [Houston Chronicle] U of H Considers Building a...
Update:1 day 13 hours
Swamplot
Daily Demolition Report: Getting Refined Swamplot’s Daily Demolition Report lists buildings that received City of Houston demolition permits the previous weekday. A quick...
Update:1 day 13 hours
Swamplot
Complaint vs. magistrate judges over assembly-line #bail hearings Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire filed complaints this week against three Harris County magistrate judges -...
Update:1 day 17 hours
Grits for Breakfast
Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: In the Leopard’s Den 12663 Windsor Village Dr. … Read...
Update:2 days 3 hours
Swamplot
A Sixth Category Now Open for Nominations: The Houston High Water Award This morning we opened up another category for the Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. That brings the tally up to 5 so far...
Update:2 days 4 hours
Swamplot
Dave Ward has open heart surgery Dave Ward will be off the air for a while as he recovers from heart surgery As the news came out that KTRK abc13 anchor Dave Ward had...
Update:2 days 4 hours
Mike McGuff
KPRC 2's Sofia Ojeda welcomes baby KPRC 2 weekend morning anchor Sofia Ojeda welcomes her baby daughter. KPRC 2 posted the following on its Facebook page: KPRC2 Sofia Ojeda...
Update:2 days 5 hours
Mike McGuff
Big Tex Montrose Self-Storage Now Open on Former Freaky Foods Lot The doors opened last week at that 4-story 100,000-sq.-ft. storage facility that has replaced the boarded-up Shell Food Mart just west of...
Update:2 days 5 hours
Swamplot
Texas TV & radio job moves November 2016 DALLAS - FORT WORTH Meteorologist Remeisha Shade leaves NBC 5. Veteran sports reporter Ted Madden hanging it up at WFAA 8. Lauren Nevitt...
Update:2 days 6 hours
Mike McGuff
HCC’s San Jacinto Memorial Green Now Green Again in Midtown That tiny replica of the San Jacinto Monument near San Jacinto and Holman streets is surrounded these days by the landscaping of Houston...
Update:2 days 7 hours
Swamplot
College Football: Bring on the Championship Games. (FunBelt Excluded) In the minds of many, the upcoming weekend is the best of the College Football season.  No, it's not the beginning of the CFP (which,...
Update:2 days 8 hours
Cory Crow
Bill Balleza to hit 50 years on TV with KPRC 2 contract extension KPRC 2's Bill Balleza to stay in anchor chair through 2021 Bill Balleza After deciding to continue in his anchor role at KPRC 2, Bill...
Update:2 days 9 hours
Mike McGuff
Fifth Category: The Swamplot Award for Special Achievement in Parking Yesterday we opened up 2 more categories for the  Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. So far we’ve got Favorite Houston Design...
Update:2 days 10 hours
Swamplot
Crappy criminal-justice reporting demonstrates journalism flaws exploited on national stage “A lie ain’t a side of a story. It’s just a lie.”                     ...
Update:2 days 10 hours
Grits for Breakfast
FOX 26 getting new set for 2017 FOX 26 KRIV broadcasts from newsroom as new set is being built for 2017 We just saw KHOU 11 get a new set for 2016, and now FOX 26 KRIV...
Update:2 days 10 hours
Mike McGuff
Montrose Management District Loses in Court, Ordered To Pay Back That $6.6 Million It Collected A judge in Harris County’s 333rd district court signed off on a decision this week siding with the plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging...
Update:2 days 10 hours
Swamplot
Houston as America’s Future; The Super Bowl Traffic Gameplan Reven Housing Real Estate Investment Trust Purchases 97 Houston-Area Single-Family Homes for About $9M [Houston Chronicle] The Palms on...
Update:2 days 13 hours
Swamplot
Daily Demolition Report: Faust, a Fragment Swamplot’s Daily Demolition Report lists buildings that received City of Houston demolition permits the previous weekday. While...
Update:2 days 13 hours
Swamplot
Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: The High Dive 1025 S. Shepherd Dr. #404 [HAR] … Read...
Update:3 days 3 hours
Swamplot
License Suspension Recommended over Fatal Californian Balcony Collapse Meanwhile, in Berkeley: The California Contractors State License Board filed a formal complaint yesterday against the company that worked...
Update:3 days 4 hours
Swamplot
And Now, This Year’s Fourth Swamplot Awards Category: Best Industrial Incident Earlier today we introduced a new category for this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. There are a total of 3 so far:...
Update:3 days 7 hours
Swamplot
KPRC 2 launches new graphics package 2016 KPRC 2 has launched a new graphics package with a refresh of lower thirds, full screens, weather...etc. Here is a quick rundown of the new...
Update:3 days 8 hours
Mike McGuff
A Downtown Height Check on Alessanda and Marlowe Today’s look at up-and-coming personified downtown highrises includes a reader’s fresh snap of Hotel Alessandra, which...
Update:3 days 8 hours
Swamplot
Introducing the Third Swamplot Awards Category: The ‘Where Are They Now?’ Award This next category for the 2016 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate is a brand new one. Yesterday we opened up nominations the first...
Update:3 days 9 hours
Swamplot
Temporary 1.4-Acre Super Bowl Nightclub Building Now Under Construction in Sawyer Yards A 62,500-sq.-ft. structure going by the name Club Nomadic is now being put in place in the empty lot next to the Shops at Sawyer Yards,...
Update:3 days 10 hours
Swamplot
Best TV News Bloopers November 2016 ...
Update:3 days 11 hours
Mike McGuff
Broadstone Apartment Influx; Clear Lake’s 33-Year-Old Turtle Club To Shut Down Houston Home Prices Rose 7.5% to a Median of $175,800 Year-Over-Year in October, Finds Zillow [Houston Chronicle] Alliance Residential...
Update:3 days 13 hours
Swamplot
Daily Demolition Report: Elmen-tary, My Dear Swamplot’s Daily Demolition Report lists buildings that received City of Houston demolition permits the previous weekday. Appearance...
Update:3 days 13 hours
Swamplot
Gifts or Bribes? Prosecutor took donations from defendants who received leniency This is a rather stunning story out of Brown County, and affirms why it was never a good idea to allow prosecutors to accept bribes gifts...
Update:3 days 17 hours
Grits for Breakfast
Harris County Republican Party disaster continued…again We’ve already established that the 2016 General Election was a disaster for the Harris County Republican Party. Okay, we didn’t...
Update:3 days 23 hours
Big Jolly Politics
Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: Spot On 1028 E. 7th 1/2 St. [HAR] … Read...
Update:4 days 4 hours
Swamplot
ConocoPhillips To Leave 62-Acre Energy Corridor Campus for Something More Cozy Across I-10 ConocoPhillips told its employees at the 62-acre complex at 600 N. Dairy Ashford Rd. today that the energy giant will be pulling them out...
Update:4 days 4 hours
Swamplot
Tweets
Karen Townsend | 4 years 6 months
"Patrick F. Kennedy is a career foreign service officer" - http://t.co/GOrCe0IS
Peter Corbett ✈ | 4 years 6 months
I'm at McCarran International Airport (LAS) w/ @almacy http://t.co/KvmId07i
KERA Public Media | 4 years 6 months
TONIGHT at 7pm on KERA TV: Presidential Debate: Learn more at PBS NewsHour. http://t.co/Z9kYdun8
PBS MediaShift | 4 years 6 months
Tech Snafus Make Bill O'Reilly/Jon Stewart 'Rumble' More of a Stumble http://t.co/4OfeBlrG (@kegill | @pbsmediashift) #rumble2012
Will Sullivan | 4 years 6 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 | 4 years 6 months
I-35W/North Tarrant Express #constantcontact http://t.co/QDzrQumu
keyetv | 4 years 6 months
Serial shotgun robbers suspects arrested. http://t.co/ka8T4U9B
Karen Townsend | 4 years 6 months
Aren't State Dept career people suppose to be non-partisan? Not the political appointees, the career people. #Libya
San Antonio Current | 4 years 6 months
Go ahead, chalk it up http://t.co/YMWpC5wM #satx #chalkitup
Caller.com | 4 years 6 months
Scanner: Bathroom on fire in 600 block of Virginia, CC fire dept. on the way
Ballotpedia | 4 years 6 months
Does your state offer early voting? Do you qualify? Find out! #election2012 http://t.co/eodxBYVD
Dallas Morning News | 4 years 6 months
Why a Dallas-area cycling coach believed Lance Armstrong was drug-free (video) http://t.co/gURdYkj1
Caller.com | 4 years 6 months
Dozens of illegal waste dumpers sentenced in Jim Wells Co.; others on the run: http://t.co/NgerCdsQ
Karen Townsend | 4 years 6 months
Consistently impressed w/raullabrador when I listen to him in Congressional hearings. #Libya
Cory Crow | 4 years 6 months
Diigo: United raises fares by up to $10 per round trip - Business - http://t.co/kWY8gwPV http://t.co/bw25JP5R
News 4 WOAI | 4 years 6 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 | 4 years 6 months
Mining Houston Garbage for Recycling and Compost Gold http://t.co/HMMBArMX
swamplot | 4 years 6 months
Daily Demolition Report: Tulane Highway http://t.co/JXmkSx11
KFDA NewsChannel10 | 4 years 6 months
Obama and Romney: Where they stand on the issues http://t.co/y3VrPfkM
Williamson County | 4 years 6 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
© 2016 TEXAS WATCHDOG and USELABS. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use and Privacy Statement