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Today, Failed GOP Candidate Accused of Targeting Democrats Appears in Court; Arizona Suburb Sues Scottsdale for Cutting Off Water; Voting System Error Alters Outcome of Local New Jersey Race. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired January 18, 2023 - 10:30   ET




BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: Later this afternoon, Solomon Pen, the failed New Mexico statehouse candidate charged with four shootings targeting the homes of Democratic officials, will be making his first court appearance.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Police now say he visited the homes of at least three Democratic leaders before the shootings.

CNN Senior National Correspondent Kyung Lah is outside court in Albuquerque with the very latest. Kyung, what are you hearing?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In just a few hours, we anticipate that Solomon Pena will be making his first court appearance. We understand that it will be brief appearance but his very first one as the defendant for shooting at four homes of four different local Democrats here in the Albuquerque area. He blamed them for his election loss.

And something that they're going to be looking for is his demeanor. Because when he was arrested, they thought that he looked almost proud and unapologetic, as he was taken into custody for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and for shooting at their homes, where some of them were inside.

The district attorney here in Albuquerque says that he will be prosecuting this personally. It is a personal issue for him because he views this as a defense of democracy.


SAM BREGMAN, BERNALILLO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: This kind of violence, carrying out your politics or election denying, or whatever it might be, with acts of violence, shooting firearms into homes is unacceptable.

We're going to do everything we can to bring all the individuals involved, including Mr. Pena, to justice. We're going to take care of this in a way to make sure that we're doing everything we can to, because this is an attack on the entire community, right?


LAH: -- being be inside a courtroom, as the defendant is a familiar setting to Pena, as he is a convicted felon for grand larceny. John, Bianna?

BERMAN: All right. Kyung Lah for us in Albuquerque, Kyung, thank you very much.

So, police in Auburn, Washington, have arrested a suspect accused of trying to kidnap a woman by pulling her through a drive-through window.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. This is really a frightening video that you're watching right here. This happened early Monday morning.

So, take a look at the surveillance. As the barista hands the suspect his change, you can see him then grabbing her arm, pulling her and trying to use a zip tie. She fortunately was able to fight him off. Authorities tracked the suspect down, taking him into custody at his home yesterday morning. Investigators are now trying to determine if the man had a connection to the victim and whether this was an isolated attack.

BERMAN: That really is terrifying.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, it is.

Well, a live stream captured announcers at a high school basketball game in Oklahoma ducking for cover and people running for their safety after gunfire broke.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- John Smith Fieldhouse tonight where the Millwood Falcons fall -- we'll go to break.


BERMAN: The last night's game in Del City, Oklahoma, had just finished when those shots were fired. What a scene.

The school's principal says it happened after there had been a fight. At least one man was injured and taken to the hospital. There is no word yet on his condition or whether he's, in any way, connected to the school.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. The worst part about that is just hearing all those children screaming in the background.

Well, up next, a feud over water that's decades in the making. Why one community says political wrangling is leaving them high and dry.



GOLODRYGA: Well, now for the latest in the battle over water. In one Arizona community, a situation sparked by an ongoing drought. Residents in the unincorporated Rio Verde Foothills are suing the city of Scottsdale to restore water delivery services which were cut off after more than four decades due to extreme drought conditions in the Colorado River. That's where the majority of Scottsdale's water comes from.

BERMAN: So, residents protested outside the city's first council meeting of 2023, and their wells, they say, are days from drying up.



CODY REIM, RIO VERDE FOOTHILLS RESIDENT: It's dire, it's now. We need water now. We can't wait a week. We can't wait really a day. This shouldn't have happened.

JESSICA MEHLMAN, RIO VERDE FOOTHILLS RESIDENT: I just cannot believe a group of people would look at their neighbors and say, we're going to slowly kill off your community.


BERMAN: Karen Nabity is a member of that community and she joins us now. Karen, nice to see you. What are you and your family having to do to security water at this point?

KAREN NABITY, RIO VERDE RESIDENT RUNNING OUT OF WATER: Right. What we're doing at our home is, luckily, we have had a lot of rain recently, so we have collected a lot of rain and are using that to flush our toilets, to rinse dishes before they go into the dishwasher and taking a two-gallon shower. Right now, it's just my husband and I. And so we are using about 13.5 gallons a day out of our tank of water that we have. And I will say on average a single person uses 100 gallons. So, we're doing a pretty good job at being conservative and we encourage, of course, our neighbors, I'm sure, are all trying to conserve as much as they can because we have a very limited supply now.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, that's incredible that you and your husband are able to conserve the way you are.

In terms of accountability, Karen, I know you are blaming this current situation on the county. The county is blaming the city of Scottsdale. I'm just wondering, are you frustrated with the city, the county? I mean, who ultimately are you holding accountable here?

NABITY: For me, personally, I held Supervisor Galvin and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors responsible for this. We have 559 residents who signed a petition to create a water district for this community that would have brought enough water for this entire community. We had a water source ready to go to start January 1st. If we had been approved, we would not be having this conversation. And I will tell you, we have our financials reviewed by the Rural Community Assistance Corporation via the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And we have very good financials in place, a good financial plan, and the fact that we were turned down when the board of supervisors have no other plan for us, it's just not right that we're going through this.

BERMAN: How long can you stay? You're using 13 gallons a day right now. You say the average person uses 100 gallons a day. How long can you live like this?

NABITY: Well, my husband and I are super -- very, very frugal, so we can go for a bit, but we've got others have animals and horses and children and that kind of thing. And it's a hard way to live, kind of think like when you're camping almost, you know? They're using just a quarter cup if you're going to wash your hands. You're using only a quarter cup of water, that type of thing. So, it's tough. We need a solution and my heart just breaks for my whole community. You know, we need a solution.

GOLODRYGA: I know that you and the community had been warned of this possibility over the last few years. I'm just curious, did you ever think it would actually come to this?

NABITY: Absolutely not. I remember when we were taking petition signatures for the water district saying we would talk about it. And we'd say, well, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors isn't going to turn us down with another solution. They turned down the DWID, okay, but have another solution. We're open to solution. I told I don't care if it's the DWID, or right now, we even have a water utility called EPCOR, that's offering to provide a solution. But in their applications, the commissioners, they have said that they will not be able to supply water for two to three years, possibly longer.

My community isn't going to survive this for the next three years. When summer comes, there's going to be even more limited supply that there's just going to be just such a small amount of water going out to residents come summer. I just don't know what's going to happen. It's terrifying.

BERMAN: Karen Nabity, we wish you the best of luck. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

NABITY: Thank you.

BERMAN: A tight race in New Jersey turned upside-down because of a voting systems error. How it happened and what it means for the true winner, that's next.



BERMAN: So, in New Jersey, a voting system error accidentally altered the outcome of a local election. GOLODRYGA: It seems like it's not a trivial issue. Now, the glitch caused some votes to be double counted. Officials say this only impacts one single race.

CNN Correspondent Omar Jimenez is here with more. One single race, but how did this happen, Omar?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, the county election system says this goes all the way back to last July. They were reinstalling some software and there was an error where basically a step was missed that would have stopped votes from being double counted. That didn't happen. And so we got to November and apparently a technician inadvertently counted votes twice.

Now, this changes the results of one of the races, a local school board race, that initially have come down to 20 votes.


So, obviously, for Steve Clayton in November, he thought he won, and just yesterday he found out, not so fast, actually you didn't win.

I talked to him this morning and he told me it's been very difficult. I was elected two months, certified the winner, got sworn in before friends and family on January 3rd, worked very hard to return to the board he had served previously, walked 21 miles the day before the election earning votes through canvassing. He added, though, he's not giving up asking in exploring his options and asking for a recount.

Now, his opponent, the incumbent, so to speak, there were three that were elected here, Jeff Weinstein, said that, look, you expect in an election there's going to be emotional ups and downs but he didn't think that this was going to be part of it. And, of course, he's the outgoing president of the board of elections. We have reached out to the county, we've reached out to the attorney general's office to sort of see what next steps are here. It does seem to be very limited in scope at this point, but obviously one that had an impact on at least the local municipal election.

BERMAN: So, is it disputed now? I mean, it changed the results. Do we know what's going to happen?

JIMENEZ: That's what we're trying to figure out right now.

So, the county told at least one of these candidates stay in touch, we're going to be in touch with you. The attorney general's office -- we like to believe, as we're waiting for answers from them, would help determine what some of those next steps would be, whether you have to reconvene the board of canvassers, recertify, those sort of things, but obviously not an issue you want to have happen on an election night that had been building, of course, for a long time.

GOLODRYGA: We'll stay on the story for us. Answers are definitely needed as to how this happened and what the outcome is now. Omar, thank you.

JIMENEZ: Of course.

GOLODRYGA: Well, in a moment of peril, that's how one report is describing the CDC. Up next, the recommendations on how to regain public trust.



GOLODRYGA: The CDC's credibility and effectiveness have come under the microscope throughout the pandemic. And now a new report suggests the agency is in a, quote, moment of peril.

BERMAN: The nonpartisan research group that created the report found that the Centers for Disease Control and prevention needs, quote, a significant reset, calling it an urgent matter of national security, but it says the agency requires support at the federal level to make that happen.

CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now. Elizabeth, you've been covering this and the CDC and what's been going on inside there for years now. What are the specific recommendations?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: John, it's so interesting, because I think a lot of the decline of the CDC has been going on for many, many years. We didn't necessarily notice because it wasn't needed as much as it was during the pandemic. And that's where some of the holes really became quite obvious.

So, this is not just any report by any Washington think tank. This is a report that is co-authored by real political and managerial and public health luminaries, including the former director of the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding, who ran the center from 2002 to 2009.

They point out some things that are kind of within the CDC that need to change. It is notoriously siloed, one center is doing one thing, one center is doing another, they're assigned different things and they don't really cooperate or talk with each other as much as they should.

Some of the things really the CDC can't do on its own, as you alluded to, that includes funding from Congress in a different way, not just more funding but in a different way. Right now, they are so limited as to what they're allowed to do. For example, when there was a case of polio in the Orthodox Jewish community in New York this summer, they wanted to just hire a woman there who is a great public health advocate who knew everybody who could really help and they couldn't. They weren't allowed to pay her to help because of the way that budge is constrained.

An interesting note from Dr. Gerberding on the presentation of this report about where the CDC is, it is headquartered in Atlanta. Many people have said that that's a strength to be away from D.C. But she said she doesn't think so. She said, if you're going to play the game, you have got to be in the game, and the game is not played in Atlanta, unless, of course, you're a fan of baseball. So, that is -- or a fan of that baseball team. That, as a longtime atlanta resident, as I am, was very hard to hear. But it's interesting. Does the CDC need to be moved to Washington, where, of course, all the powerbrokers are. Bianna, John?

BERMAN: Yes, it is really interesting. And the CDC is going to be pulled into politics. To be in Atlanta, you could see how that could be something seen as a disadvantage. Elizabeth Cohen, very interesting, thank you very much.

GOLODRYGA: And thank you all for joining us today. I'm Bianna Golodryga.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman.

At This Hour with Kate Bolduan starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you so much for being here.

We're going to start in Ukraine, where 14 people are dead now, at least 14 people, after a helicopter crash near a kindergarten outside of Kyiv. Those killed include a child and top officials in the Ukrainian government.

Also, any minute, we're going to be hearing from President Zelenskyy himself. He is going to be speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos. And when Zelenskyy begins, we will be bringing you his remarks live.

But I do want to go first to Fred Pleitgen, who is standing by in Ukraine for us at this hour, at the scene -- on the scene for us. Fred, what are you learning?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Kate. Yes, it's a pretty tragic scene here. We're actually in a residential area just outside of Kyiv, in a place called Brovary.


And this is exactly where the helicopter crashed. In fact, I'm going to try and get out of your way for a second. It's already pretty dark here. So, it will be very difficult to see a lot of .