I want to know if attending a CBE law school is my only way back.
No, it's not the only way back. You can reapply to ABA schools after a certain amount of time (can't remember how long). Whether or not you get in is dependent on a lot of variables. Obviously, it will be harder to get back in.
Here's the thing, though: it won't be any easier at a CBE school. They pretty much follow the same curriculum as any ABA school. It's not an "easier" path, necessarily. Unless you can figure out where you went wrong the first time, and have a plan in place to overcome that problem and succeed, I'm not sure that going to a CBE makes any sense.
I'm not sure if CBE schools have a required waiting period if you're applying following an academic dismissal. Contact them to find out.
My plan is to never move out of California, I would not mind a district attorney position, nor would I mind opening my own small private practice.
It's good that you don't want to leave CA, as the CBE degree is not as portable.
DA/PD/City Attorney, and pretty much all other govt jobs are VERY competitive right now. I worked at a govt office for a while, and they were flooded with applicants. It's difficult to get a DA gig even if you go to respected ABA school, especially in big cities. People from CBE schools do get hired as DAs, but it's rare unless they have connections or previous experience. Most of the CBE govt lawyers I've met were hired a long time ago when those jobs were less competitive.
Opening your own solo practice is a more realistic (and still difficult) proposition.
Are there any success stories about people graduating from CBE schools? In other words is there any hope?
Sure, there are plenty of successful CBE grads, but you need to be realistic about the job opportunities. You will have fewer options, it will be harder to get internships, etc.
I'm not a snob when it comes to CBE. I think they offer a great option for the right kind of student. I've known some really good CBE lawyers. In my opinion, CBE is best suited for someone who already has a career and wants to broaden into law. If that person already has contacts and solid job experience, and knows how to hustle, then CBE may be fine.
For someone who is young and inexperienced, and is going to need to rely on their pedigree more, CBE is probably not the best choice.
Be realistic about your options, let that guide the decisions.