Paying for Politics

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Jim Smallwood says he's not a politician, but he does pay attention to politics in Bay County. Smallwood recently placed an ad in The News Herald that first ran Thursday morning about Cornel Brock, a candidate running for county commission.

This isn't a first for Smallwood. Two years ago, he placed a political ad aimed at County Commissioner Danny Sparks, and two years before that a similar ad ran against other county commission candidates.

"My purpose is just to make sure elected officials are accountable." But, Smallwood wants it clear. He does not do this in affiliation with a political party. "I'm not involved with any political organizations here, none. I'm truly independent, and I think it's important when you take a stand that you are independent, and I am that way."

Paul Sims is another person who says politicians need to be held accountable. He has run ads in newspapers across the area and he's posting messages on business signs along Highway 390 about state attorney candidate Steve Meadows.

"Politicians will try to fool you all of the time, not part of the time, but all of the time." Sims, like Smallwood, says independent ads can expose the public to opinions and information that is left out by partisan campaigns. "If you research the candidate and be politically astute, not politically correct or socially tolerant, then you will see that's the person you need to vote for."

After the 2000 state attorney election, Paul Sims filed a complaint with the state elections commission about Jim Appleman for violating campaign contribution laws. The commission found probable cause Appleman did violate the law, and he had to pay almost $12,000 in fines.

Still, no matter the campaign, it all comes to an end very soon.