Nation: A Small Surprise

The mayor of Los Angeles fulfills mostly ceremonial functions, and in this role, Norris Poulson, 65, an accountant and former Republican Congressman, is an unqualified success. He gets to his office promptly at 7:30 a.m., turns to his task with an unfettered spirit, and even his enemies admit that he is a superior civic greeter, ribbon snipper and proclamation signer. He achieved brief national fame in 1959, when he told Visitor Nikita Khrushchev off in no uncertain terms.

Up for re-election last week, Poulson figured as a shoo-in for a third term. The nine-candidate field was full of flyweights. There were...

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