Red Light Camera Exec Busted For Online "Sockpuppeteering"

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

An executive from American Traffic Solutions, a purveyor of red light cameras, has been suspended after being exposed for posing as an area resident in 43 comments on red light camera-related stories at the Everett Herald. The Herald reported last Friday

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 [ anti-camera activist Tim] 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. 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.

ATS spokesman Charley Territo (whom TTAC readers may remember from his days as spokesman for the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers and TTAC guest editorialist) tells the Spokane Spokesman-Review (where, it turns out, Kroske had left nine pro-camera comments) that his co-worker had expressed his uncontrollable pro-camera passions “the wrong way” by not identifying himself and posing as a local resident. Ya think? [Hit the jump for a full statement from ATS President James Tuton].

Meanwhile, are there any TTAC commenters who have something they need to get off their chests?

ATS President James Tuton tells the Herald

I wanted to take an opportunity to clarify the position of ATS regarding the alleged recent actions of one of our employees. 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. 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. Furthermore, we are taking steps to make sure all of our employees know that this type of activity is unacceptable.

Join the conversation
3 of 21 comments
  • JJ JJ on May 24, 2011

    Did he explicitly say he was from that town though, or did he only strongly imply he was (like in the quote above). Not condoning this at all and definitely not condoning those friggin speed/red light cameras, just saying there's a bit of a grey area here IMO. Ok, in this case it would seem 'W. Howard' is a bit of a douchebag trying to profit from misleading people with false information, but what about a VW car salesman that says something positive about a VW product in a comment(!) on TTAC without disclosing he's a VW car salesman every time? -no, I'm not- I'm all for full disclosure and unbiased (or disclosedly biased) news, but sometimes it can get a little silly:

    • Redmondjp Redmondjp on May 24, 2011

      I follow the Everett Herald and have read all of the associated articles and comments. "W Howard" claimed to be a local resident and also claimed to have been educated at Washington post-secondary institutions. The way that he said it, it was very suspicious and apparently others felt the same. Oh, there also is the case of ANOTHER ATS executive who privately-registered (so the website couldn't be traced back to ATS) in response to a Missouri man who set up This same executive came on a Seattle radio talk show last week and admitted that he was the one who set up the website, while claiming that there was nothing wrong with doing so and that the company was being completely out-in-the-open. Read about it here:

  • Henrythegearhead Henrythegearhead on May 25, 2011

    But it doesn't stop with VP Kroske. He was just one of ATS' spokesmen. There's at least one other, and he is potentially much more dangerous. He is Mark Rosenker, former chair of the NTSB. Having retired from the NTSB he now is Senior Advisor to an ATS-supported pro-camera group. Taking advantage of the status conferred by the association with the NTSB, Rosenker has been granted numerous pro-camera "guest columns" in newspapers around the country. In all of the columns he mentioned his current position as Senior Advisor to the National Coalition for Safer Roads but never disclosed that the NCSR is supported by ATS. Nor did he or his newspaper hosts mention that early in his career Rosenker did electronic monitoring for Pres. Nixon. And it doesn't stop with Rosenker. Bancams dot com has shown that ATS is behind many of the "citizen supported" pro-camera websites you'll find in towns where the company is entrenched. To find the bancams article, put "stupid" in their search box.

  • ToolGuy Well the faithful 2010 RAV4 has new headlamp assemblies installed as of yesterday (ordered them a year ago and put it off until now). Have to remove the entire front fascia *and* remove part of the radiator support to change the headlamps. Ordered new side brackets and clips since the thing is pretty much designed to go together once (it comes apart when it comes apart, is what I'm saying), so we'll get to hop back in there when those show up later this week. (Alternative is to have the wrong gap at the fascia/fender interface and you know we can't have that.)Just crossed 150K mileage, engine is strong, no signs of transmission trouble. Spouse is pushing for an EV (or a Jeep, but I ignore that Jeep part). Michelins are performing well. Very high likelihood that this particular Toyota will be replaced with a non-Toyota, maybe 2 years from now.Oh, no one cares. 🙂
  • Parkave231 Needs moar grille!
  • SCE to AUX Give them everything they want, including the moon. Let the UAW determine how long they want to keep their jobs.
  • Arthur Dailey If I were a UAW leader I would focus more on political policy, such as requirements for North American content. Work harder at organizing non D3 auto plants. Try to win public support and increase union density/membership. But political unionism is not popular in the USA. Instead the focus is often on short term monetary gains.
  • Peter 20% raise to make up for the post-Covid inflation. 3% a year for the length of this contract estimated future inflation.Nothing for retired workers (It’s not the Automakers fault that the Union has stolen your money. Go talk to the 2 guys sitting in Jail)