WASHINGTON DIARY: PLEASE DON'T DRINK THE WATER

As the city suffered through its fourth water alert in 12 months, the mayor tried to calm the populace by calling a press conference. With cameras whirring, Marion Barry dramatically held up a liquid that residents had earlier been warned by health authorities might kill the tropical fish in their aquariums, took a lip-smacking gulp and pronounced it "D.C.'s finest." Citizens were, of course, happy to see that the mayor was drinking nothing stronger than water, but wondered what could be impairing his judgment so severely that he blamed the media and his very own health commissioner for the water panic--not...

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