Washington: Traffic Camera Company Runs Press Relations for Lynnwood

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washington traffic camera company runs press relations for lynnwood

The distinction between employees for a private photo enforcement firm and taxpayer-funded public servants blurred in the city of Lynnwood, Washington. Emails between city officials and American Traffic Solutions (ATS) suggest a cozy relationship developed where both sides were willing to perform the duties of the other in terms of marketing and public relations.

Lynnwood Police Sergeant Wayne “Kawika” Davis, for example, used official government resources and time to come up with a marketing plan to sell for the privately held firm at a conference held at the Tulalip Resort Casino in June.

“Ray, I really believe this is a great venue for ATS exposure,” Davis wrote in a May 19 email to ATS project manager Ray Pedrosa. “I have some ideas that really could market ATS in WA, ID, OR and Canada. I know you are already in some of these areas; however, there is a lot more business to be had. Is there someone in marketing that you might


turn me on to?”

ATS was equally generous in inviting municipal employees from across the country to attend a complimentary seminar in Arizona discussing “tips and tricks for speaking with the media” regarding red light cameras and “when to panic, when to relax” regarding efforts in the state legislature to restrict automated ticketing. Airfare, lodging and wages during such events is considered official business and paid by taxpayers. ATS picked up the rest of the tab, for which municipal employees expressed gratitude.

“I had another wonderful time in AZ,” Sergeant Davis wrote in a May 9 email to ATS spokesman Kate Coulson. “ATS is the greatest host, and put on a great conference. I really get irritated at the media, and I find it hard to keep my mouth shut, so I don’t.”

Davis and other Lynnwood officials were concerned as the Everett Daily Herald newspaper widened its investigation into the operations of the automated ticketing program. ATS offered to write responses for the city.

“Our public relations department has great information on the safety aspects of the cameras and they are available to you to create an opinion editorial so the Herald can cover the safety message in next month’s article,” Claudia Garibay with ATS wrote in an April 26 email. “Would you like for the public relations manager Kate Coulson to get in touch with you and discuss ideas and information to provide the Herald?”

Coulson ensured whenever Davis conducted interviews with reporters that he used ATS-approved talking points and materials. It did not help, as Davis did not think the Herald’s May 2 online article was fair. Reporter Scott North had described city officials as “a bit prickly” when responding to questions about the photo enforcement program that had generated $4.7 million in less than a year and a half, which did not sit well with Davis.

“I will need to wait some time before I call Scott North about this,” Sergeant Davis wrote in an email after reading the article. “Because if I call him now, it won’t go well!”

A set of ATS emails is provided in a 1.6mb PDF file at the source link below. Pictured: ATS entertainment as provided after conference in photo taken by Davis.

Source:

ATS emails (City of Lynnwood, Washington, 9/9/2011)

[Courtesy: thenewspaper.com]

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  • ExPatBrit ExPatBrit on Sep 10, 2011

    This is going on in several cities in Washington. By in large the public in my City is not paying attention at the moment. Lot's of very similar letters to the local free newspaper supporting the cameras. There is almost no pedestrian traffic at these intersections. 95% of the revenue is from "California stops" and there has been an increase in accidents at all intersections with cameras. But let's think of the children

  • Henrythegearhead Henrythegearhead on Sep 12, 2011

    For a long time, ATS hid behind its local lobbyists and we could not see into ATS. Now that we can, it is not good. Kroske: In May, ATS suspended a VP caught posing as a resident of towns where he'd been posting online comments. Source: heraldnet.com, put Kroske in search box. Lenza: ATS recently fired & sued another VP, Michael Lenza for (allegedly) "diverting opportunities away from ATS." Rosenker: Senior Advisor to ATS' main front group the Natl. Coalition for Safer Roads is Mark Rosenker who in his early career did electronic monitoring for the Campaign to Re-Elect Pres. Nixon. CRP did the Watergate break-in, after which many of the conspirators went to prison, and Nixon resigned. Because of his recent former position as NTSB chair Rosenker was granted pro-camera guest columns in papers nationwide, in which he mentioned his position with the Natl. Coalition for Safer Roads but not its support by ATS. Tuton, and Buffett: James Tuton is the nominal CEO at ATS. But who's hidden behind him? In Sept. 2008, Goldman-Sachs bought 1/3 of ATS for $58 mil, days after Warren Buffett (Geico) invested $5 bil in G-S. Coincidence?

  • 285exp If the conversion to EVs was really so vital to solve an existential climate change crisis, it wouldn’t matter whether they were built by US union workers or where the batteries and battery materials came from.
  • El scotto Another EBPosky, "EVs are Stoopid, prove to me water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius" article.It was never explained if the rural schools own the buses or if the school bus routes are contracted out. If the bus routes are contracted out, will Carpenter or Bluebird offer an electric school bus? Flexmatt never stated the range of brand-unspecified school bus. Will the min-mart be open at the end of the 179-mile drive? No cell coverage? Why doesn't the bus driver have an emergency sat phone?Two more problems Mr. Musk could solve.
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  • Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.
  • Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.
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