Business: Selling from City Hall

Detroit's pudgy Mayor Louis C. Mariani so much resembles New York's former Mayor La Guardia in his unorthodox approach to problems that Detroiters sometimes call Mariani "Our Little Flower." This spring, rather than sit back and bemoan slow auto sales, Mayor Mariani decided to do something about them. Off to 1,379 fellow mayors in cities from Vineland, N.J., to Yakima, Wash., went personal letters, urging them to step up purchases of city-owned cars, trucks and parts that would normally be bought after July 1. If replacements for some of the 80,000 vehicles used...

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