Non-traditional approaches to campaigning for re-election this year brought the police down on incumbent candidate Tom Stocks and earned him the label of "the man in the moon."
In the most highly visible tactic of his campaign this season, Stocks and his wife Gay donned bright yellow T-shirts and baseball caps and picketed on South Main Street during the weekend, with matching signs that said "Tom for Mayor."Apparently the antics paid off, as the incumbent finished a close second in Tuesday's primary balloting, tallying just six votes less than challenger Bill Meador in unofficial returns. (See page A7 for election results.)
Stocks said the idea was to bring to a peak his campaign efforts the weekend before the primary election.
The idea came from a newspaper article on the winning campaign for a Florida mayor, Don Olm-stead of Palmetto, who also tied yellow ribbons around palm trees throughout his town.
Unfortunately for the mayor, the local version provided Stocks' adversaries with fuel for criticism.
A Moab woman who objected to him waving to motorists from the middle of the road called police from a downtown store after driving past him on the street. An officer promptly responded and warned Stocks, who had been seen jaywalking to join his wife across the street at one point, that he was endangering himself and distracting motorists.
The weekend incident also spawned criticism in a free advertiser, in which an anonymous writer complained in a classified ad that the mayor had created a traffic hazard.
"Is it legal," the ad said, "to dress in costume, lunge at cars on Main Street, plunging campaign signs at them, disrupting drivers?"
The writer further cited the incident as proof that Stocks' statements that he believes in "government by law, not of man" is only campaign rhetoric.
Stocks said the picketing was an attempt to make the race more fun as election day approached. The couple got lots of enthusiastic response, honking and waving, and said they plan to do it again.
Early in the campaign, Stocks had noted in the ads his accomplishments as mayor, which led to accusations that he took too much credit for proj-ects that came to fruition during his two terms.
One ad, which Stocks attributed to another local woman, said the mayor neglected to tell how he had hung the moon in the sky and manages to make it stay up there.
Stocks responded by having the paper publish the poem, "The Man in the Moon" by James Whitcomb Riley, which he had learned in grade school in Moab.