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Published: Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 1:22 p.m.

'W Howard' a man of many screen names, Jedi master?

Turns out traffic-enforcement camera exec Bill Kroske didn't have a soft spot for Snohomish County. He does, however, appear to be a Star Wars fan.

The revelations come courtesy of The Spokesman-Review in Spokane. When they checked their website, they determined the Scottsdale, Ariz., man appears to have posed as a local there, too, posting comments in support of his company's camera enforcement program in the Lilac City.

Kroske is vice president of business development at American Traffic Solutions, Inc. The Arizona company said Kroske was indefinitely suspended after we wrote about him last week, exposing him as "W Howard" a big backer of traffic cameras in Lynnwood, which contracts with ATS for the service.

On Heraldnet, Kroske never revealed his connection to ATS but in his comments claimed he lived in Lynnwood, or maybe Everett. He urged people in Monroe not to act like "backwoods" Mukilteo and seek anti-camera initiatives like those being sought by Tim Eyman.

Now, The Spokesman-Review reports on its Sirens and Gavels blog that we in Snohomish County weren't so special after all.
Their online commenting records show that Kroske also appears to have hit their site, this time using the screen name "Obie1." We think you say that "Obi-Wan," like Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi master from the Star Wars films.

In the Spokane comments, Kroske attacked those who oppose traffic cameras. Here's a short bit of the Sirens and Gavels post:

In 2010, from January through July, Kroske posted nine comments on The Spokesman-Review's website under the name Obie1, which is registered to his email at American Traffic Solutions.
In his posts, all of which touched on red-light cameras, he wrote as if he lived in Spokane. He refers to critics as the "camera paranoia group" and suggests they start a campaign to get rid of the cameras "by no one running red lights so no money for the city."


You can read the whole thing here.

Of course, this all raises a question: In just how many places was Kroske pretending to be a local?

The Bellingham Herald checked after our story last week and found posts from Kroske, but none they felt had him passing himself off as a local. They also obtained Kroske's emails to Bellingham officials about the traffic camera contract in that town. Among other things, they found a willingness on the camera company's part to challenge in court any attempt by voters in that community to weigh in on the future of cameras there.

Sound familiar?


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