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Racial Tensions in L.A. 10 Years Later; Domenici Pushes for Equal Insurance for Mentally Ill; 100th Condemned Man Proven Innocent with DNA

Aired April 29, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff from Washington. A decade after the Los Angeles riots, I'll ask Los Angeles mayor, James Hahn, about racial tensions in the city, then and now.

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Charles Feldman in South Central Los Angeles. I've been talking to three very different people who experienced the' 92 riots up close and personal.

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kate Snow in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Senator Pete Domenici tells me why he's been pushing for equal insurance for the mentally ill, and how it hits close to home.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ed Lavandera in Mesa, Arizona. Death penalty opponents say he's the 100th condemned American proven to be innocent because of DNA evidence. I'll have his story and tell you why he's back in court today.


WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. It was April 29, 1992, when South Central Los Angeles erupted in flames and anger, exposing racial divides in the city and the nation.

The videotaped beating by police of black motorist Rodney King had already fanned tensions -- tensions erupted in rioting when the four white officers were acquitted. Fifty-five people were killed in several days of violence, arson and looting. More than 1,000 buildings were destroyed or damaged.

Ten years later, memories of the riot still have some influence on race relations and American politics. A new "Los Angeles Times" poll shows a majority of whites in L.A. believe that race relations in the city have gotten better in the past ten years, compared with more than a third of African-Americans who feel that way.

Nine percent of whites say race relations have gotten worse, compared with 25 percent of blacks. Twenty-six percent of whites and 35 percent of blacks say race relations have stayed about the same.

Over the past few weeks, CNN' Charles Feldman has been talking with three people who lived through the rioting in South Central L.A. and saw what happened from different perspectives.


FELDMAN (voice-over): Bart Batholomew, Mike Mullin (ph) and Darrell Taite all experienced the '92 L.A. riots up close and personal. Darryl Taite was 24 that day. He was one of the rioters.

DARRELL TAITE, GROUP SUPERVISOR, STOP THE VIOLENCE: At the time, it was unexpected. It was something that never happened, you know, before, right here in South Central. And it was just -- it just seemed like at the time, it was the thing do. Because everybody else was doing it.

FELDMAN: Retired LAPD lieutenant, Mike Mullin (ph), was a 23- year veteran of the force the night the riots began.

LT. MIKE MULLIN, LAPD (RET): The community was on edge.

FELDMAN: After watching the Rodney King verdicts on TV, Bart Bartholomew's news instincts led him to the intersection of Normandie and Florence. Bartholomew was shooting stills for "The New York Times" when the riots began.

BARTHOLOMEW: The crowd was really gathering. There were about 30 police officers here and it was a very big mix.

TATE: Rodney King caused all of this happening, so it was basically, you know, police -- it brought out the hate in people. So people just started really destroying their own neighborhood, which it started hurting us later on.

BARTHOLOMEW: You ask an interesting question because, could it happen again? Sure, it could happen again. You never know what's going to be the spark.


FELDMAN: Normandie and Florence. This is the very intersection that I interviewed those three people. And this is the so-called flash point for those riots back in 1992. The neighborhood now is very different in many ways, although the same in some ways.

It's more Hispanic than it is black. There is still some tension here because of gangs that still very much are present in the city of Los Angeles. And as you heard, one of the people I interviewed, the former photographer from the "New York Times" say, could it happen again? Yes -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Charles Feldman reporting. Thank you for the interviews. Charles will bring you more of those interviews tonight in a CNN report marking ten years since the Los Angeles riots. "LIVE FROM HOLLYWOOD WITH LEON HARRIS" airs at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

During the L.A. riots, James Hahn was the city attorney. Now he is the mayor of Los Angeles. Just a short time ago I asked him if all the grievances that caused the rioting a decade ago had been resolved. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAYOR JAMES HAHN, LOS ANGELES: No, I don't think they've all been resolved, but we're going in the right direction. Clearly, the economic disparity between our poor communities and the wealthier communities, that continues to be a problem in Los Angeles.

But on the issue of police reform -- we had the Christopher commission make a number of recommendations to improve our police department. We now have a consent decree with the Department of Justice. And we're clearly committed to the goal of finishing the job of police reform. I think that was one of big things that had to come out of the riots.

The other thing was providing economic opportunities to people in these areas. Capital was a big problem. How do we get access to capital? We had a community development bank, we've had private public partnerships to bring more entrepreneurs into these areas. Because I think that's what was missing.

And so, we haven't finished the job, but I think we're in the right direction.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about a poll that was done a couple weeks ago in Los Angeles. Fifty-one percent of the poll said race relations in Los Angeles are not good. Even more than that, half of all Angelenos said the availability of jobs and economic opportunity in their communities is not good. And almost 2/3 of blacks and Latinos felt that way.

HAHN: You know, that's the issue that we've got to work on, is to figure out how to connect these neighborhoods to economic opportunities to provide the jobs that are necessary. To see what we can do to get our young people away from gangs and drugs and into productive lifestyles.

So I think how we connect equal to those opportunities, how we provide those job opportunities, is real significant. Later on today I'm going to be at First AME church, where President Bush is coming today. They're a church that's gotten very involved with economic development, with their famed renaissance corporation. They're a business incubator.

And what we found out is that it's not just government that's doing the work these days. It's community-based development corporations like First AME church, and others, who are doing the work.

WOODRUFF: Mr. Mayor, just one other quick question. You mentioned police department, the ouster decision last week to remove the police chief, Bernard Parks. In another poll, we saw 63 percent of people in Los Angeles said you were wrong to voice your disapproval of the police chief before the decision was made to turn this over to a commission.

HAHN: I can't imagine any other place in America where a mayor couldn't express his opinion on the most important job of public safety in the city, that of police chief. And the chief and I have had battles over the years -- over finishing the job of police reform, over ending racial profiling. Over how we can, you know, restore community policing.

And, at the end of the day, it wasn't, you know, the color of his skin or person who was police chief, it was what kind of job was being done on issues I think are important to minority communities.


WOODRUFF: And finally -- I don't want to interrupt you, but I do want to get in one other question, if you don't mind, about the San Fernando valley, this referendum proposal on the ballot this November, to have the valley secede from the city, 1.35 million people. They say it would be smaller government, more responsive government.

HAHN: It would still be probably the sixth largest city in America. So it wouldn't really be like a small town. What we think is very devastating is it will send a message that somehow Los Angeles doesn't believe in itself anymore, that we're not united.

And I think ten years after the riots, we're doing everything we can to reconnect communities of Los Angeles, to make a more positive statement about neighborhood government. what we're trying to do with neighborhood councils and other activities like that, is reconnect people to government.

I think breaking up the city into different pieces will really hurt all of the good work that we've done to bring this economy forward. And I want to campaign very hard. This is going to be on the ballot in November. I think it's a mistake, and one that will be costly not only to the part of the city that's leaving, but to everybody else in the rest of the city.

It doesn't look like there will be any more money for public services, in fact, less. And I want to get that message out.

WOODRUFF: All right, Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn, thank you for joining us. And we're going to be keeping an eye on that one with you, along with these other issues. Thank you very much. It's good to see you.

HAHN: Thank you.


WOODRUFF: Well, President Bush is on his way to Los Angeles where he will hold a roundtable discussion in the South Central community. Our John King is travelling with Mr. Bush from New Mexico to California. A short time ago I asked John if the event marking ten years after the L.A. riots was added somewhat hastily to Mr. Bush's long-planned trip to California.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not quite the last minute, Judy, but certainly late for presidential trip. It was about two weeks ago, we are told, when White House advisers realized they would be in California for this political fund-raiser tonight, on the tenth anniversary of the Los Angeles riots.

And in any event, top aides said they realized then that the president needed to do an event to address the ten-year anniversary, to talk about his goals for economic development and social progress in undeveloped areas of Los Angeles and elsewhere across the country.

And they also realized that there would be comparisons drawn to ten years ago, when the former President Bush was roundly criticized for not immediately going to Los Angeles, for not, in the view many, anyway, speaking out more forcefully at that time.

I remember traveling with then Democratic candidate for president, Bill Clinton. He went into Los Angeles immediately after the riots. And his top advisers at the time were saying that was another example to them of why the former President Bush -- quote -- "didn't get it."

So, inevitable comparisons as the president adds this event. His top staff realized politically he had to say something on the ten-year anniversary. His main reason for the trip, though, is a political fund-raiser.

WOODRUFF: Speaking of that fund-raiser, the president is going to be with Bill Simon tonight, the Republican nominee for governor. Now, this isn't the man the White House was originally supporting, but now they're lending a helping hand.

KING: And they say they will lend all the hands they can. They will raise $2.5 million for Bill Simon tonight. You're right, the president directly intervened and supported the former Los Angeles mayor, Richard Riordan, in the primary. Many conservatives in California weren't happy with that. They viewed Riordan as more of a Democrat. They didn't think the president should be meddling in the first place.

So the president trying to A, mend some fences with California conservative activists as he looks ahead to the state, competing in the state two years from now. But also, his aides say, Simon ran a tough and disciplined campaign. He's behind right now, but the White House wants to do all it can.

Certainly, any Republican president would love to have a Republican governor in the state of California, even if perhaps it wasn't the president's first choice.

WOODRUFF: And, John, what do the people at the White House believe Simon's chances are against Gray Davis?

KING: One of the reasons they supported Richard Riordan is they do not think Simon is a good for California. He opposes abortion, rights. He is conservative on other issues that California Democrats have used before, successfully -- that national Democrats, for that matter, have used successfully in presidential elections.

They say he is behind right now. But they also say the president will do all he can, from a fund-raising standpoint, to help. The test will be two or three weeks from now, is the president planning to return to California? Remember, George W. Bush,high in popularity across the country right now. But California one of his most difficult states, too.

So there will be a question in the Simon campaign as well as at the Bush White House, as to whether the president can be an asset in this campaign. But the White House says it will keep its options open. And, at least from a fund-raising standpoint, do everything it can to help.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King on his way, about to travel to California with President Bush. Thanks, John.


And we will take a political and personal look at another issue on the president's plate today: mental health coverage. When we return, Senator Pete Domenici goes "On the Record" about the issue, what it means it him and how much help he's getting from the president.


SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R), NEW MEXICO: You get this one big economic stigma out of the way, and we're on the road to something very positive for the country.


WOODRUFF: Also ahead, as Iraqi cheer Saddam Hussein, will our daily debaters cheer or jeer possible U.S. military action against Iraq?

And later, more on the proposed secession of Hollywood. Will our Bill Schneider give the concept a thumbs up, or a thumbs down?


WOODRUFF: President Bush said today that Americans suffering from mental illness should be guaranteed access to health insurance equal to the coverage for other types of illness. Mr. Bush made his remarks alongside New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici, a longtime advocate for expanded mental health insurance.

The president did not endorse the bill that Domenici sponsors, but he pledged to work toward its major targets, beginning with the goal of ending the stigma of mental illness.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Stigma leads to isolation and discourages people from seeking the treatment they need. Political leaders, health care professionals and all Americans must understand and send this message: mental disability is not a scandal.


WOODRUFF: For years, Senator Domenici has led the battle to require mental health insurance parity. Often though, his efforts have been blocked by fellow Republicans who said that expanded coverage would be too expensive for employers.

And before today's announcement by the president, our Kate Snow talked "On the Record" with Pete Domenici about his bill and his personal interest in its success.


SNOW: We're here in your hometown of Albuquerque. The president is coming out here to your state, your town. That's got to feel good.

DOMENICI: Feels great. Especially since the president is going to announce that he's going to join the battle against the stigma of brain disease and mental illness, by supporting, getting rid of discrimination in insurance policies. So that in the future, the mentally ill of our country will be insured as members of a family, as working men and women. And that's absolutely necessary if we're going to have a fair society.

SNOW: This is something you've been working on for how many years now?

DOMENICI: Well, I've been working and learning and joining with people that are concerned about mental illness and brain disease for about 14 years. But about ten years, I've been working in the Senate for one thing or another.

And the pinnacle of success is when you get parity of insurance coverage in the United States. You know, people don't think of it this way, but if you have a heart condition, it's covered. Insurance companies wouldn't think of writing an insurance policy and saying, we're covering everything but we're not covering your heart.

Well, the way it is now, because it got started this way, they write everything but they don't write a schizophrenic who's mentally ill and needs hospitalization. They write that they're not covered, or they're covered less than with the other physical diseases.

SNOW: Can you tell us a little bit about your daughter?

DOMENICI: I'll tell you this much. There is nothing to hide. But one of our eight children has a mental illness. And it's not easily diagnosable, but it's similar between manic depression an schizophrenia. But she's with medication and good care and a lot of loving care from her brothers and sisters and us, she's self- sufficient now. And she's just a delight. Everybody -- it gives us all a cause in our household.

SNOW: Let me ask you this. You are a successful senator. You've always been very successful, so I would think you would be able to help your daughter. But did you run into problems like other families do, in terms of...

DOMENICI: Yes, you know, I kind of made a commitment to her and to my wife, that we wouldn't get involved in the personal problems. Suffice it to say, we know what mothers and fathers are going through who have a teenage daughter or son who gets schizophrenia or manic depression or serious depression.

And especially, we are in tune with those where the disease stays around for a long, long time. So we've been through about everything. But most important thing is, we have met people who have gone through this.

SNOW: Let me ask you about what the critics say. People on the other side of this say -- and these include business leaders, insurance industry, many of your Republican colleagues...


SNOW: ... who feel very strongly that this is going to raise costs for everyone. That people who don't have a mental illness problem are suddenly going to have to pay more for their insurance. How is that fair, they say.

DOMENICI: Well, first, people who have no heart conditions in their family are paying for the heart treatment for those in society that have insurance that are covered. People whose children never get diabetes are paying in their insurance policies, they're paying for the insurance coverage for young people with diabetes who have treatment. So that argument is useless.

On the other hand, it will force the price to go up some. And the question is, do we leave it like it is, and continue to create this segment of society that is totally, unfairly treated, to begin to walk the streets, fill the jails, and break, economically speaking, mothers and fathers by the thousands. Or do we do something about it?

SNOW: What kind of a change, if this bill goes through and becomes law, what kind of change are we talking about, in terms of the mental illness stigma?


SNOW: If there is one now.

DOMENICI: Yes, there is one. But actually, the stigma for mental illness will be -- with the president's speech, it's going out the door. It's on the way out. When it's all finished and we have it done, the stigma will be stomped out.

Because what's really important is, we don't want to get rid of stigma just because we want to button people's lips and say don't talk about it. We want to get rid of the stigma so that there is no discrimination. And major, major discrimination is in health coverage.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SNOW: And you heard the president talk about the stigma of mental illness earlier today as well. For the president , this is personal, too. We've learned that the president lost a close friend, Judy, just since he became president just recently. And that friend committed suicide. That friend suffered from mental illness. So it's personal for the president, too.

Senator Domenici says he knows the president gets this issue. He feels like they're going to be able to work on a bill together. He did tell me he's not sure he's going to get everything he wants. And, Judy, today the president said that he was worried about serious mental illness.

That suggests that maybe he wants to limit the scope of this parity bill a little bit. Maybe it's limited to just serious mental illness getting the same coverage as other kinds of ailments. Senator Domenici saying that still needs to be negotiated.

But one thing he also said to me, Judy, is that if a bill like this passes, it would be the crowning achievement of his career -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kate Snow, very interesting interview. And clearly, nobody knows these issues better than the people who live with them. Thanks very much.

To a different subject coming up. Yasser Arafat soon could be free to travel. The latest from the Middle East in our "Newscycle," coming up.

Plus, a dramatic new look at the devastating weekend storm that battered parts of the country.


WOODRUFF: Checking the INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle," President Bush arrives in California next hour, where he will head to an economic development event not far from where some of that city's worst rioting began 10 years ago today. The riots started after a mostly white jury acquitted four white police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King.

In the Middle East, talks are expected to resume tomorrow on a plan to place six imprisoned Palestinians under U.S. and British supervision. If and when a deal is completed, the Israeli government is expected to lift the blockade of Yasser Arafat's compound, and to allow the Palestinian leader to travel freely.

Here in the United States, this amateur video captures what meteorologists are calling one of the strongest tornadoes ever to hit the state of Maryland. Three people were killed and dozens more injured when a twister plowed a 24-mile path through the state.

With us now, columnist Mike Greene of "The Village News." He's in Fallbrook, California. And Peter Beinart of "The New Republic." Peter Beinart, let's talk first about the anniversary today, ten-year anniversary, of those riot in South Central Los Angeles. What's the legacy, now that we're this far out?

PETER BEINART, "NEW REPUBLIC": I think the legacy is a real American success story. The remarkable thing is, if you were to try to predict which city in the world was most likely to go up in flames today as part of a race riot, you'd probably say it was Paris or Hamburg or Marseilles, somewhere in Europe.

The United States, because of our sustained economic boom, because we've done a good job of improving policing and getting crime down. And I think because George W. Bush has eschewed the kind of hot button issues, particularly affirmative action and anti-immigration politics, that Republicans before him used to exploit. The country is actually safer and more united today than it was ten years ago.

WOODRUFF: Mike Greene?

MIKE GREENE, COLUMNIST, "VILLAGE NEWS": Let me say first that African-Americans are just like every other American. That we are mostly conservative-minded people who, just like you -- well, we believe in faith, and we believe in family and we believe in freedom.

The carnage that took place ten years ago in L.A. was perpetuated by folks who are irrational, and illogically-minded people, who mostly blindly followed liberal leaders who, like drug dealers, could care less about the destruction of communities, as long as they could control those communities.

WOODRUFF: So, Peter Beinart, is he right about liberal leaders being responsible for this?

BEINART: No, I actually completely disagree with that. I mean, this was in response to a history of neglect by the LAPD, a department which really hadn't learned the lessons that other cities implemented in the '90s about community policing, about policing that actually builds bridges with communities rather than taking a very insular approach to policing.

And it was in response to, I think, what was a terrible, terrible verdict, allowing policemen who had clearly abused a black man to get off. So I don't think -- there are lot of things you can lay at the hands of liberal political leaders, but I don't think this is one of them.

WOODRUFF: Mike Green, let me turn you both to Iraq: even more evidence in the last few days the Bush administration is planning, at some point down the road, to take military action against Iraq.

Is this something the administration can do basically on its own, with just a few allies, or does it need a broad coalition, as the U.S. had going into Afghanistan?

GREEN: I think that one of the things we have to learn from history is that sticking our nose in places where it does not belong, where we have no real authority, has brought great devastation to the United States. When we went into Iran and we put the shah in Iran and they overthrew the shah, we have had much trouble from them ever since.

We have had our embassies sieged. We have had people blown to bits in our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and other places. We have had 241 Marines killed in Lebanon. The USS Stark was hit. The USS Cole was hit. We have been in a perpetual state of war with Arab states ever since we set foot in that region. And it's not because of our claimed protection of Israel. It's simply because of our claimed protection of what we call American interests, which is oil.

WOODRUFF: And, Peter Beinart, on that point respond, and also on this question: What does the U.S. need in the way of allies do this?

BEINART: Well, once again, I would come out on other side. I really think the reason the United States has a bad reputation in the Arab world is that we've been on side of dictatorships. We've been on the side of very corrupt, very backward governments in places like Saudi Arabia, in Egypt.

And, in fact, an invasion of Iraq, if it was done right -- which is to say, if the United States stayed there after Saddam Hussein and really left a presence, as we've done, for instance, in Bosnia and Kosovo, and tried to reconstruct a democratic culture in Iraq -- what people around the world would see was that Iraqis would react the way Afghans reacted, which is with dancing in the streets.

And the United States could be seen as a force for freedom in the Muslim world, which is definitely what we need. And I think we can do it with probably just Turkey, maybe Kuwait. We need a little bit of a logistical support, but we don't need the moral support of anyone, because we're on the side of the angels in this.

WOODRUFF: Mike Green, it could be done with just a few allies?

GREEN: Well, let me say this. I think that if we go into Iraq, we're going to into a hornet's nest. The Arab world is setting its sights on the United States because it is really angry that we're actually over in that territory, specifically because of our American interests, which is in oil.

And I want to say this: that our dependency on oil has really put us in a precarious position. And those who have tried, as best as they can, to get us independent of the oil in the Middle East have been -- at every step have been thwarted by liberals who pull out a spotted owl out of the pocket any environmentalist, who will say: "We should not be doing this. We should not be refining here," or "We should not digging over here in order to find independent resources for the United States," but rather we should go over there and kill folks in order to maintain dependency on the oil resources in that area.

I think that that is terrible.

WOODRUFF: I'm sorry. We are going to have to leave it there.

Mike Green, joining us from California, Peter Beinart here in Washington, gentlemen, good to see both of you. We appreciate your being with us.

GREEN: Thank you very much.

BEINART: Thanks.

WOODRUFF: Thank you.

Bob Novak's "Inside Buzz" is come up next. Find out why Bob is likening redistricting in Pennsylvania to a big casino game.



WOODRUFF: I am here with Bob Novak for some "Inside Buzz" from the Novak Notebook.

Bob, first of all, Fritz Hollings, the senator from South Carolina, what is going on with him and trade politics?

ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He is one of the great warriors of the Senate, very tough guy. And he is also a protectionist.

And he has got a plan to really tie up the trade legislation -- that passed the House long ago -- in knots when it comes to the Senate floor. Maybe three separate cloture votes will be necessary. It would take weeks to go on. The opponents hope that Senator Hollings, who is not getting any younger, will get tired of the battle. But he is a tough old bird.

Another thing is he is doing, I am told, is that he is sending mailings out to the district of Republican Congressman Jim DeMint in South Carolina, who voted for the trade bill. His arm was twisted off by the White House, not a popular vote in the textile district he's in. And he may be in trouble in this election. And Hollings is targeting him.

WOODRUFF: All right, item No. 2: some anger among blue-collar union workers. Now, what is that about?

NOVAK: The brotherhood of labor workers -- of labor unions is a little angry at Leo Gerard. He is a tough president of the United Steelworkers, strong liberal, strong Democrat. And he came out against the oil drilling in the ANWR, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Now, most of the blue-collar unions had supported that: the Teamsters, the carpenters, the laborers, the machinists. All these unions -- I'm not sure about the machinists, but the others -- the longshoremen I'm thinking of -- had all supported the ANWR drilling. Steelworkers came out against it. The opponent of Mr. Gerard is saying he told sold out to the environmentalists, lost jobs for the steelworkers -- very nasty behind-the-scenes language going on in the labor movement.

WOODRUFF: All right.

And, finally, Bob, redistricting in the state of Pennsylvania, congressional redistricting after a court ruling. What is the aftermath?

NOVAK: It's been going on forever, Judy.

The Republican plan was at first ruled unconstitutional by a federal court. Now the same court has stayed its order. As I understand it, that means that, for the 2002 election, the Republican plan will go into effect. That means the Republicans in Pennsylvania now have an 11-10 margin. They lose a seat, the state of Pennsylvania does. And under this new redistricting, the Republicans will have a 13-6 potential advantage. That is a huge change when we're talking about the House of Representatives at stake.

So, these courts are playing a big role on whether they approve or disapprove of reapportionment plans. There's so few seats that are hotly contested. And this ruling in Pennsylvania, which has gotten very little attention, could be critical on who controls the House of Representatives.

WOODRUFF: And this court has the final say.

NOVAK: We think.


NOVAK: You never know with the lawyers. They can always come up with another writ. There is still another redistricting for the year 2004. So, Pennsylvania is in play.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bob Novak, "Inside Buzz."


WOODRUFF: And now "Inside Buzz," more of it, on apparent government security failures from our Capitol Hill producer, Ted Barrett: Congressional investigators, using fake law enforcement I.D.s, recently were able to bypass security and enter four federal government buildings in Atlanta.

In some cases, the investigators entered the buildings and avoided X-ray machines while carrying firearms and duffel bags. Details on the security breaches will be revealed tomorrow at an Atlanta field hearing of the House Government Reform Committee. The investigation was commissioned by committee Chairman Dan Burton and fellow Republican Bob Barr.

And now checking the Monday headlines our in "Campaign News Daily": Georgia Democratic Senator Zell Miller says that his party is often on the wrong side of the gun-rights issue. At the NRA's annual meeting over the weekend, Miller said he is proud of his strong gun- rights voting record. Miller also said that Al Gore lost the 2000 election in part because he listened to advisers who said voters favor more gun control. Former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell is leading Robert Casey Jr. in a new survey of the Democratic race for Pennsylvania governor. A Mason-Dixon poll of likely Democratic voters gives Rendell 45 percent to Casey's 40 percent, with 15 percent still not decided. The primary is May 21.

Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman has given more money to Iowa Democrats than anyone else considering a run for the White House. Since December, Lieberman has contributed $25,000 to Iowa candidates and to the state party. Now, cash isn't the only way to make friends, however. Earlier this year, Senator John Edwards donated 123 refurbished computers to Iowa Democrats. Give it any way you can.

Texas Democrats and their prescription for success this fall -- up next, Jeff Greenfield takes a look at two Lone Star candidates who defy conventional wisdom.


WOODRUFF: A couple of intriguing races shaping up in President Bush's home state of Texas.

With me now from Dallas: our CNN senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield.

All right, Jeff, there's something historic about these races in Texas this fall, but could that fact be a little misleading?


Look, the Democrats nominated an Hispanic, Tony Sanchez, a millionaire businessman, for governor to run against Rick Perry, and an African-American, former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, to run for Senate against Attorney General John Cornyn.

Now, no state has ever done that before, as far as I can tell. But neither of these candidates fit the national stereotype of what you would think of as an Hispanic or black candidate. Sanchez, as I said: millionaire businessman; into oil; family wealth estimated at $600 million dollars; spent $20 million in the primary alone. His family contributed $300,000 in the past to a guy named George W. Bush -- not your classic liberal Democrat.

Ron Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas: self-described centrist; governed Dallas with a lot of business and Republican support. They have got an Anglo, John Sharp, running for lieutenant governor, which in Dallas, Texas, is a real job with real power. And Democrats actually think they might have a chance to win one, maybe all of those seats, which is unusual for Democrats in Texas.

WOODRUFF: But, Jeff, given the fact that public opinion polls never really measure racial factors very well, are Republicans privately thinking that they have got an easy shot here?

GREENFIELD: Well, you are absolutely right about that.

Polls just don't measure voters who say -- voters don't tell pollsters: "I am not going to vote for a black or Hispanic." But something very interesting about this suggests Republicans may be a little back on their heels. About a week ago or so, Dave Beckwith -- whom you remember -- he worked for Dan Quayle -- veteran Republican operative -- he is working now for John Cornyn, the Republican Senate candidate.

And he called the Democratic ticket a quota ticket. Now, Cornyn himself came out and slapped Beckwith down really hard. There was even talk he might fire Beckwith. So, when you realize that Hispanics are the fastest-growing group in Texas, the Republicans, who have an all-Anglo ticket, don't want to be in the position of antagonizing minorities. They remember what happened to the Republicans in California, who did an anti-immigration appeal and have been suffering for it ever since 1994.

When you add to the fact Tony Sanchez, who spent $20 million in the primary, is prepared to spend millions more, there is a feeling among some Republicans that this might turn out black and Hispanic voters, which makes all past polls irrelevant or untrustworthy because that turnout will kind of louse up turnout predictions. So, they are worried.

WOODRUFF: So, given all that, what do Republicans having going for them?

GREENFIELD: Well, what they going for them is the fact that this is a state that basically has been voting Republican for the better part of a decade. They also have not only an incumbent Republican governor in Rick Perry, but a gentleman named George W. Bush who does not want to suffer the embarrassment of seeing his home state go Democratic. What some people are saying is: We are going to find out this fall whether Texas is a Bush state or a Republican state.

And there's just one more footnote about all this. There are people here, not just Democrats, who see in Ron Kirk, the candidate for Senate, the former Dallas mayor, a rather exceptional retail politician. And down in Texas, there's already talk that, if he got to the Senate, first black senator from the south since Reconstruction, from the second biggest state in the country, he would be almost instantly thought of as a possible person on the national ticket in 2004, 2008.

My only point about this is, Texas, which hasn't figured into national conversations much, may be a state worth watching as we get closer to November.

WOODRUFF: All right, is it a Bush state or a Republican state? That is Jeff Greenfield's question. And we'll be looking for the answer.

Jeff, joining us from Dallas today, thanks.


WOODRUFF: The death penalty, the courts and politics are up next. We will tell you why a freed convict is back in court and why his case is getting so much attention.


WOODRUFF: In Mesa, Arizona, a hearing in under way now in the case of former death row inmate Ray Krone three weeks after he was exonerated by DNA evidence and released from prison.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Mesa and he joins us now -- Ed.


Well, on April 8, Ray Krone was able to walk out of the prison he spent the last couple of years -- more than -- the last 10 years here in Arizona, but today in court, in the court right behind me. It's a formality, really. But for Ray Krone, it's the chance, the first chance to hear the words that he has been waiting for than 10 years to hear.


RAY LAVANDERA, WRONGLY CONVICTED: Deciding moment of your life, and nothing else matters after that.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Ray Krone is trying to figure out how much the world around him has changed.

(on camera): Are there still things you have to get used to?

KRONE: Everything. I just got a cell phone the other day. And I'm still not sure if I can turn on the TV with it or open up a garage door with it. Or how come this doesn't answer when I push the button?

LAVANDERA: Hey, nowadays, you can do anything with it.

KRONE: It seems like it. It really does.

I can play this game. I used to know how to play this game.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Krone was convicted twice of murdering Kim Ancona. She was a friend of Krone's who was closing the neighborhood bar where Krone used to hang out with friends and throw darts. Krone and a buddy say they were at home drinking a few beers and watching holiday football games the night of the murder. Experts said Krone's teeth marks matched dental markings left on the victim's body.

There was no other physical evidence linking him to the crime. He was first sentenced to death. Then, after a second jury convicted him, the judge said a life sentence would be best.

(on camera): For a guy like Ray to sit on death row for 2 1/2 years and then to spend another eight years or so in prison, what does that do to someone?

CHRIS PLOURD, ATTORNEY: It devastates him. He's a totally innocent person, like you or I. This could happen to anybody if it could happen to Ray Krone.


LAVANDERA: Judy, the same DNA tests that exonerated Ray Krone have also linked another man, who was already in the Arizona penal system, linked him to this crime the Ray Krone was convicted for. That man was arrested four months, it happens, right after Ray Krone back in 1992.

So, he sits today in an Arizona jail as well -- Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: All right, Ed Lavandera, an incredible story -- thanks.

It would be the ultimate big break for Hollywood. That story and our Bill Schneider are ahead.

But, first, Wolf is here with a look at what is coming up on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" -- hello.


There's been a breakthrough deal in the works in the Middle East. Also, assessing the terror threat here at home: Could we see some suicide bombings right here in the United States? I will ask Senator Fred Thompson. Plus, the storm that could hit anywhere -- it chose this Maryland neighborhood. We will get a bird's-eye view of the devastation and talk with survivors who lost everything but their lives.

It's all coming up right at the top of the hour after INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: Finally, a true Hollywood story to coincide with the president's trip to California -- here now our senator political analyst, Bill Schneider.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Imagine Los Angeles without Hollywood. It would be like New York without Times Square. But it could happen.

Local civic activists are hoping to get a measure on the ballot this November that would allow Hollywood to secede from Los Angeles and become a separate city. Welcome to Tinseltown! To the rest of the country, Hollywood means glamour, faded glamour, like Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard."



UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: All right, cameras, action!


SCHNEIDER: To residents of Los Angeles, Hollywood means grunge. But the area has been revitalizing itself. Last month, the Academy Awards returned to Hollywood for the first time in more than 40 years.

But the most likely measure to pass this fall would mean splitsville for the San Fernando Valley. That's the Valley, as in, oh, my God, "Valley Girl."


UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Like I'm totally not in love with you anymore, Tommy.


SCHNEIDER: Los Angeles without the Valley would be like New York City without Long Island. Wait a minute. Long island is not part of New York City. But the Valley is part of Los Angeles, has been since 1915. Why?

Remember the movie "Chinatown"? It's all about water. But don't get too nosy.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: They lose their noses.


SCHNEIDER: Right now, Los Angeles is the nation's second-largest city. The Valley is more than one-third of the city. What would happen if it splits? Los Angeles would fall to third place. And the Valley, all by itself, would become the nation's sixth-largest city. But what would it be called? Some Valley residents have suggested Camelot.

Here's a better idea. The classic Valley movie "Boogie Nights" was about one of the Valley's most important industries.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: A big, bright shining star.


SCHNEIDER: How about Porn City? As they say in the Valley, whatever.

(on camera): The harbor area around San Pedro is also trying to secede. Never heard of the Port of Los Angeles? It just happens to be the busiest port in the country. Will L.A. let it go overboard?

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: As we heard a little while ago from L.A.'s mayor, he is not going to let it happen if he can help it.

CNN's coverage continues now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Thank you for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.


for Equal Insurance for Mentally Ill; 100th Condemned Man Proven Innocent with DNA>



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