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Bottled watergate update

April 8, 2009 |  3:51 pm

Countywater Los Angeles County supervisors gave up their bottled water this week -- trading individual plastic bottles emblazoned with the county seal for paper cups and old-fashioned carafes filled with iced tap water.

The move came a week after The Times reported that a student worker peeled the labels off individual water bottles, used a computer to print out custom labels and slapped them on. The relabeling of the bottles for the supervisors' weekly board meetings had been going on for years.

Supervisors' aides said the special water was needed to avoid giving free advertising to the original bottler on public-access television broadcasts.

But that struck many people as fiscally wasteful, environmentally unfriendly and politically tone deaf. After all, the supervisors have ordered cuts in recent months that has resulted in the removal of purified water in county hospitals. Workers in some county buildings complained that they did not even have a working drinking fountain.

-- Garrett Therolf