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New Day

Parents Attend School Board Meeting in Uvalde, Texas, to Address Ongoing Security Concerns after Elementary School Shooting; Heatwave Hits U.K.; Legally Armed Man Stops Mass Shooting Indiana; Are the Manufactures Shirking the Sizes of Product Packages?; Gas Prices Fall for 35 Straight Days; Down 50 Cents from Month Ago; Biden Considers Declaring Climate Emergency After Manchin Ends Talks. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired July 19, 2022 - 08:00   ET



ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But there's just as much rage and there's just as much outrage against the school district. And that 77- page report made it very clear that school administrators and school police knew about unsafe practices, and according to the report it stated that those unsafety measures were not taken seriously and that they were not placed any urgency on fixing those problems. And so these parents that came before the school board and expressed their outrage, saying that they don't want to send their children back to school to an unsafe campus, to an unsafe building, and some of the students expressed the same thing. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You need to clean house. You need to start from zero.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hire experienced, trained officers.

My daughter Laila (ph) is still terrified of the thought of having to return to school in a few short weeks that she comes to tears. What will you tell her? I can assure you that my children are not mentally prepared to return to campus and my husband and I are unwilling to send them.


FLORES: Now, the school administration said that they are considering virtual schooling, but that, of course, still needs to be determined. As for the latest on the investigation, Texas department of public safety telling CNN that its ongoing criminal, and the key word here is "criminal," its ongoing criminal investigation is also examining the actions of law enforcement. And Kaitlan, that's important because we hadn't heard this before from the lead investigating agency. And so the latest is that they are looking at the actions or in this case the inaction of law enforcement. But as you know, it would be up to the D.A. to charge anyone in this case.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, and I know the families want to know exactly what's happening there. Last night seeing that eight- year-old girl come up and talk about how she was wearing the same dress that she had been wearing the day of this shooting as her classmates were killed. Rosa, thank you for bringing us the latest on that and thank you for being there at that meeting.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Joining us now Angel Garza and Berlinda Irene Arreola, parent and grandmother of Amerie Jo Garza, one of the young victims of Uvalde school shooting. And I know you were both at this school board meeting we just reported on. What was it like to be inside there?

ANGEL GARZA, FATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM AMERIE JO GARZA: There was a lot of hostility, animosity, just being in the area, or being in the school, just reminds us and makes us relive that day. And it's hard. I mean, we're up there fighting for our children, but this is very hard for us.

BERMAN: Berlinda, how far did they go in addressing some of the concerns and questions that you have still?

BERLINDA IRENA ARREOLA, GRANDMOTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM AMERIE JO GARZA: They didn't go very far. Again, it's another frustration because we were asking what their plans were, and all they kept telling us is they're working on this and working on that. But they weren't specific as to what they were working on. They did say they were working on certain -- on getting the fences and getting locks, new locks, new doors. But they didn't give us a timeline, they didn't give us what their -- what exactly they were planning to do. A lot of the questions that were asked as far as the virtual or any kind of questions that we asked, they kind of just around it, saying that they were working on it and that they expected things to be done by the time kids went back to school.

So all of us are just all in agreement that they can't expect to do something that we wanted done, like there was no guarantee that it would be done. So they -- we tell them that we will not send our children back to school, that we would start a walkout.

BERMAN: Yes, you told me that last week. Anything change your mind on that, Angel, you don't want to send the kids back to school, you're going to call for the walkout still?

GARZA: Nothing -- nothing they said yesterday was convincing at all to any of the parents. I don't think that meeting persuaded anyone more than what they were. My son is definitely not going. He'll get homeschooled. It seems like they're trying -- they say they're trying to fix things or give us a sense of direction or sense of hope or anything, but every time they try, they just simply fail.


It is just like a -- like beating us while we're down. We look for hope and none is given. BERMAN: You said as of now your decision is to homeschool your son.


GARZA: My son -- my son in particular is going through his own struggles since losing his sister. Our main focus and most of the parents' focus is just keeping our family safe right now. He -- it's hard to -- it's hard for any parent to sit here and trust these people that they can drop their kid off at school in the morning and they're going to be there to pick them up when they get out of work.

ARREOLA: I'm raising my granddaughter, and she is just terrified to go back to school, even though it has been two months since the situation happened. She went to Robb last year, and she was at a different school this past year. But she just -- she keeps just repeatedly telling us she does not want to go back to school, if she can do online classes. We've looked into actually going K-12, only because we -- I'm not going to send her back knowing that the schools aren't secure. And not only that, I did address Dr. Harold yesterday and asked him, it's not so much the security, but the kids that are afraid to go back to school, do you have something planned, in place, for the kids that have to go back to school regardless that are afraid to go back to school.

BERMAN: Angel, last time you told me something and I heard from a lot of people who said that it really broke their hearts, that you're just not getting the information, you're still not getting the information you want and you feel you need. And you felt like you were getting more information about the Highland Park shooting in Illinois than the massacre that took your own daughter away. Is that still the case? Are you still not getting the information you want?

GARZA: I believe most of us parents are still kind of in the dark about the whole situation. It's humiliating to see all these agencies fight and point the finger at each other, and no one wanting to take the blame for what happened, no one wanting to step up and be a leader and say, hey, we messed up. That means something to us. The fact that everybody's just running from the situation is humiliating. People keep or say information, and they say it is to help us in any type of way, that's not the truth. If they have any information or they want to keep any information that should be given to us, whether we should be able to obtain that or make that public or not, just keeping us in the dark is -- we lost our children. There's no other way to put that.

BERMAN: Angel, Berlinda, we thank you again for being with us this morning, sharing your thoughts, letting us know what you are going through. I know how hard it is and just know we're thinking about you.

ARREOLA: Thank you so much.

GARZA: Thank you.

BERMAN: To hear from both of them, they were at this meeting, and part of the reason for this meeting was to tell parents the plan for getting their kids back to school and to hear from them. They're just not hearing what they feel they need to hear in order to send their son and their granddaughter back safely. COLLINS: It's amazing to me how eloquent these parents have been

since this happened. And he is one of the ones I watch every interview he does almost, and he is just able to sum up exactly what's going on. And right there saying, we lost our kids, and none of these people can even take an ounce of responsibility for what happened that day. Clearly, the response was a disaster, and no one is taking responsibility, even though they're dealing with pain and grief in a different stratosphere, and no one will take responsibility for what happened.

BERMAN: He sat right here a week ago, and after the interview, I asked him where do you find the strength to keep on talking like this, and having these discussions?


And he told me he gets the strength from Amerie who was his daughter that he lost. That's what's giving him -- that's what giving them the strength right now to get through this. But it is remarkable, to say the least.

COLLINS: And it's sad that parents have to keep coming out and speaking out about the issues they're facing instead of being able to grieve on their own. They have to come out and publicly call on these officials to take action, to have accountability, and to change the security at the school of what's going on because they don't feel comfortable sending their kids there.

BERMAN: It's rough.

COLLINS: It is. It is a lot to take in in the morning. But it's important to about that.

This morning we're also going to talk about the U.K. having its highest temperature ever, 102.4 degrees recorded this morning amid a brutal heat wave that is gripping countries not just in the U.K., all over the world. London's heat wave, though, is so stifling, the guards at Buckingham palace broke their famously stoic stance to drink some water. It's that hot. It's worth noting that less than one percent of households in the U.K. have air conditioning.

CNN's senior national correspondent Sara Sidner joins us live from London. Sara, as I just laid out while you were standing in the heat, I know it's a million degrees there, tell us how it feels and tell us, what are people saying about this?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kaitlan, it is a scorcher. And, by the way, since this morning, we now have an official temperature from the Met of 40 degrees Celsius, that's 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It is provisionally the hottest day that this country has ever experienced. So when you put that into context, in a place like Arizona, this would be like a cool summer day at 104. But here, the infrastructure and the people are simply not used to it. And so the government has asked people to do a couple of things. Actually, they've said do nothing, go nowhere. It is rare to hear a government say that to its people, especially at a time when the economy is a bit in a mess. You've got inflation, you want people to be able to go to work.

But what they have basically done is stop the trains from one of the busiest train depots in the entire country from going to the north. Those are canceled for several hours today. Why is that? Because the infrastructure can't handle it. They're actually worried that the rail lines will buckle under this heat, and trains have slowed their speed to try to stop the friction from creating a problem.

We also know that one of the airports, Luton, has stopped one of the -- they have sort of stopped traffic there because the runway has buckled because of this extreme heat. It is really remarkable what happens in a place that is not used to having this kind of heat, when you or I might be used to it in the states. This isn't all that unusual for a late July day. But here, there really are many, many problems, and when your body is not used to it, that is a huge problem too.

You mentioned that only about one percent of the households in this nation have air conditioning. Why is that? Because they haven't needed it. It is usually soggy and rainy here with some clouds. Now it is perfect sun. It is actually a beautiful day. But it is terribly hot. And people here, the infrastructure just not used to it. I love the fact that the government is saying go nowhere, do nothing. And what am I doing, Kaitlan? Standing in the heat. What is going on here? Come on, CNN.

COLLINS: Can we get her a fan or something? What can we send you? I'll send you the fans that we have outside our tent at the White House. We'll send them over to you. They're powerful.

SIDNER: Excellent.


COLLINS: Sara Sidner, thank you for being in the heat with us -- for us, and we will come back to you and check in with you.

We were talking about Uvalde just a moment ago. But in Indiana, one legally armed bystander is now being credited with doing what 400 officers at a school in Uvalde did not do -- stopping a mass shooting inside a mall within moments of it starting, and raising questions about this whole good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun debate.

So joining us now to talk about that debate is CNN political commentator Michael Smerconish and anchor. Michael thank you so much for being here with us this morning. And I do wonder, what do you say to people, because it does raise that question, it does give people an argument there when they talk about how it is effective to have someone with a gun there, given this guy was able to stop the shooter in Indiana within minutes of the shooting starting.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: Twenty-two-year-old Elijah Dicken, what a hero. Can you imagine, Kaitlan, the poise and the courage required of him? Even if he's armed, I think until you're in that circumstance, you wouldn't know how you would respond if given the opportunity. And according to law enforcement, within two minutes he was able to subdue, to kill that attacker, or it would have been a hell of a lot worse.


It's a very rare outcome. In other words, we don't often get the Hollywood ending. "The New York Times," within the last 30 days, published a look at two decades worth of data. I think it was 433 active shooter situations.

Most of them end before the police arrive, and they end with the suicide of the attacker himself or because he's fled the scene. Of the 433 that they scrutinized, only 12 ended like this one ended. So all praise to the 22-year-old hero in Indianapolis, but it also raises questions of if everyone was now carrying a gun, would there be cross fire, would more people get lost as a result of secondary shootings? I'm not saying it is the outcome where everybody should be armed, but at least in this case it was a hell of a lot better than the alternative.

Final thought if I may -- in Uvalde, of course, we had 376 good guys with guns and nobody acted.

BERMAN: Two things can be true. One of them can be what a hero in Indiana, what an amazing outcome there, you know, obviously people still did die there, but not as deadly as it could have been, but the statistics show not something that every time necessarily is available.

Michael, new CNN polling out shows the president's having some trouble connecting with the American people on the issues that matter most to the American people. People say inflation is their top concern right now. And his ratings on inflation and handling the economy, very, very low.

SMERCONISH: And, you know, Sara was just offering that report about what is going on all around the globe in terms of this excess heat. We have got a fundamental problem, an existential problem with climate change and yet I think that, which is going to matter most, when Americans go to cast ballots in the midterm are going to be gas prices and inflation and it is hard to see how that's going to abruptly shift in the president's direction between now and November.

John, I also wonder if maybe the days of presidents getting a boost and then having a decline are over. Because Donald Trump was, if nothing else, he was consistent, he was consistently underwater. And now too President Biden appears so. I don't know if there would be a rally around the flag moment. God forbid there were some type of catastrophe, I don't know if that could change the arc of where the president's numbers are right now.

The only thing that might help him is an early Trump announcement in which circumstance may be the midterm now becomes a referendum again on Donald Trump and less about the Biden administration.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And that is what we have heard from some Trump advisers who are advising the former president, don't announce until after the midterms because you don't want to be able to give Democrats a boost by letting them run on the fact that you are running again. So he's kind of been weighing that, is what we've heard from sources.

BERMAN: Smerconish, thank you.

SMERCONISH: Right. But I think as he gets beat up in the January 6th hearings and here comes another one in primetime on Thursday night, I think in part is he wants to freeze Ron DeSantis.

But, Kaitlan, I think another part is he wants the legal protection that he perceives would come with him now being an announced candidate because maybe it would give pause to Merrick Garland that otherwise wouldn't exist.

COLLINS: That raises some good questions, we will see where he comes down on when he is expected to announce that once he's made a decision.

Michael, thank you so much for joining us on all these very important topics.

SMERCONISH: See you guys.

COLLINS: We also have new reporting this morning that President Biden may be prepared to declare a climate emergency after he warned he would take strong executive action.

Gas prices are once again falling this morning, very good news if you're on your way to fill up your car and listening to us, marking 35 straight days of drops in gas prices. We'll tell you how long this downward trend could last.

BERMAN: And why Trump-backed Senate candidate Mehmet Oz making an interesting messaging choice about the potential death of the MAGA movement.



BERMAN: So, some of you may have noticed your favorite products shrinking in portion size, a growing trend that economists call shrinkflation which is a thing.

Here with us now, CNN correspondent Alison Kosik.

It's not a welcome thing.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: John, you've got to imagine it, John. This is really a thing. In fact, I spoke with the authority on this subject. His name is Katendra Chataveti (ph). He is a supply chain professor at Arizona State University.

And he says shrinkflation is something that companies don't want you to notice and it is based on one basic tenet, that every company lives by, and that is they're in the business not just to make money, but to make more money. So, what we're seeing now is manufacturers quietly shrinking the size or amount in the product but not lowering the price. They're doing this because they're facing higher costs like production costs. And labor costs.

But the thing is they have got one choice here of three, they could eat the cost and reduce their profit and shield the consumer, but don't laugh because they would never do that. They could pass on the extra cost to the consumer, but run the risk of the consumer going to a different product so we go to door number three, shrinkflation. They lessen the amount of things inside the package or shrink the size and don't lower the price.

Where are we seeing this? We found some products, you see the Charmin here. If you look closely, you'll see the size of the rolls went from 396 sheets to 366 sheets. You wouldn't know it. It says super mega on top.

Sparkle paper towels, they lopped off six sheets from every roll, going from 116 to 110. Dawn dish washing liquid, 6-1/2 ounces for the smallest size, here's the thing, both of these bottles scanned at $1.79 at CVS in May. The price did not go down on that one.

And here is my favorite, Gatorade, it grew a waistline here, it used to be 32 ounces it now 28 ounces, but it is the same height, you see it there.

I did contact all the manufacturers for these products.


They didn't get back to me except for PepsiCo, the maker of Gatorade. They said the 28 ounce bottle you see here is not new, the 32-ounce bottle is being phased out and the reason for the new shape is you can hold it better, but they say that it is not because there is the new -- the new shape is not because of any economic conditions going on -- John and Kaitlan.

BERMAN: Slimming container there on the Gatorade.

All right, Alison, you think it's happening, it really is. Appreciate it.

KOSIK: It is.

COLLINS: Your mind is not playing tricks on you.

BERMAN: Maybe, but not in this case.

COLLINS: Not on this situation.

This morning, pressure at the pump is easing for millions of Americans as gas prices have now fallen for the 35th straight day. The nationwide average now sits at $4.50 per gallon. That is going to make my dad very happy. This after the cost of a gallon was close to $5 last month.

CNN's Pete Muntean is live in Alexandria, Virginia, where he always is, except when he's at the airport.

Pete, are you seeing some happy customers showing up this morning?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Seventeen states, Kaitlan, have seen their gas prices drop 50 cents in the last week. Virginia is one of them, $4.69 here at our station that we always go to in Alexandria, although that is above the national average, which is now $4.50 according to AAA, dropped two cents overnight. It wasn't that long ago that we were here talking, wondering when gas prices would go above $4.50.

Let's think back to where we were a month ago. Gas prices were $4.98 on average. They really peaked on June 14th, $5.02. The most common price in the U.S. right now, according to GasBuddy, you'll see this a lot, $3.99.

What is going on here? The reasons the price of oil is dropping because there are these fears about a global recession, and that could possibly crater demand for gas.

I want you to listen to drivers now, who realize big picture, this bad economic news may be a bit of good news in the short-term for them.


UNIDENTIFIED DRIVER: Right now, it is ridiculous at this time of moment. My husband being a truck driver, so right now he's paying, like, $600, $700 a gallon, you know, traveling back and forth.

UNIDENTIFIED DRIVER: I'm glad the gas went down. It is making people feel a whole lot better.

REPORTER: How much lower do you want it to go?

UNIDENTIFIED DRIVER: I would say probably in the $2 range. About $2.50, $2.75, I think people would be satisfied.


MUNTEAN: Okay, $2.50 and $2.75, pretty unlikely. A year go we saw gas at $3.17 for a gallon of regular on average, though Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy says we could see gas slip by another dime, $3.49 on average, by the end of this week.

Of course, the Biden administration trying to take a lot of credit for this. They tapped the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, they put more pressure on oil companies, one of the top economic advisers said $4 is good, but not good enough. We'll see it go down more if the administration gets its way.

COLLINS: Yeah, you cannot overstate how much the White House is watching the numbers. They check them every single day, multiple times a day. Pete Muntean, thank you so much.

BEMAN: All right. New reporting overnight says President Biden could declare a climate emergency as soon as this week.

Joining us now is Amos Hochstein. He is the special presidential coordinator for international energy affairs. Thank you so much for being with us.

What would declaring a climate emergency give the president the power to do?


Well, I think the president was very clear that if the Senate wouldn't act that he would. I think climate -- the challenge that we're facing globally on climate is real and we need to take whatever measures we can to accelerate all the work that we're doing to make sure that we can address the climate emergency that -- the crisis that the world is facing, that the planet is facing.

But I want to go back to something you said on your show a moment ago, we have to do two things at the same time, that's what the president wants to do, and that is to accelerate the energy transition to get us moving a lot faster on deployment of renewable energy, on manufacturing of and deployment of electric vehicles.

But at the same time, we recognize that we need to do that in a way that still allows for lower prices at the pump, lower prices of energy overall, electricity, gasoline, diesel.

And I think what we're seeing is that these actions that the president takes doesn't always translate into results on the same day, but look where we are today compared to where we were. Oil prices have come down 20 percent from $120 to $100.

Gasoline prices are now most Americans, the most common price, as you said, is below $4, $3.99. I think those prices as a result of the president's actions are going to be coming down a little bit more.