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Mountain Home mom, veteran crowdfunds government transparency

Mountain Home mom, veteran crowdfunds government transparency

Dustin Hurst
September 20, 2016
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September 20, 2016

Crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe may be best-known for raising cash to pay for new gadgets or a neighbor’s medical bills.

Crowdfunding works to fund government transparency, too.

Mountain Home mother of four and Air Force veteran Wendy Mastroeni launched a GoFundMe campaign late last week after IdahoReporter.com revealed she faces a $2,600 fee from her city to access more than 7,200 emails.

Mastroeni, a government watchdog of sorts in her community, told IdahoReporter.com Friday she’d sell lemonade in front of City Hall to earn the cash.

She may have just turned lemons into lemonade. Her GoFundMe campaign, just four days old, has raised $600 of her $3,000 goal, or more than one-sixth of city’s tab.

In late August, Mastroeni submitted a public records request to the city of Mountain Home asking for, among other items, emails sent and received by  Economic Development Director Paula Rigg between January and August 2016.

Because Idaho law protects special business interests from having some of their interactions with government disclosed to the public, city officials would have to review each email to ensure the message doesn’t include proprietary or otherwise private information.

City Clerk Nina Patterson estimated the bill at more than $2,600.

Mastroeni has twice cut her request in hopes of reducing the bill. Patterson has not responded to Mastroeni’s most recent reduction, which she submitted Friday.

She told IdahoReporter.com she’s grateful for the donations and pledged to keep fighting for the emails.

“In the Air Force, we were taught integrity first, excellence in all we do and service before self,” Mastroeni told IdahoReporter.com Saturday. “I continue to hold true to those core values as members of my family, friends and military stand with me.”

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