Former Miss America Recalls Prison Visit; Makes Bid For Congress

Main photo — Erika Harold, right, after relinquishing her 2003 Miss America crown, took a tour of Angola Prison in Louisiana in March 2004. She is shown here touring the facility with Angola Prison warden Burl Cain, left (photo courtesy of The Angolite).

Left photo —  Harold, a Republican, is vying for the 13th Congressional District of Illinois. If she gets to the general election and claim victory, Harold would be the first Black female Republican elected to Congress. The primary election is March 18 (AP photo).

Right photo — Harold's reaction after she won the Miss America crown in September 2002 (photo courtesy of Erika Harold).

URBANA-CHAMPAIGN — When she was crowned Miss America on Sept. 21, 2002, Erika Harold never imagined she would be entering an United States penitentiary a year later. Surrounded by hardened criminals, a majority that have committed heinous crimes, Ms. Harold, her mission dear — provide hope to those many have written off as hopeless. She’s […]

Stockton Selects Kurt Wilson to Serve as Permanent City Manager

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STOCKTON – The City of Stockton has decided to promote within, naming its Interim City Manager, Kurt Wilson to the permanent position. Stockton’s Mayor Anthony Silva made the announcement at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “I am honored to nominate an extremely qualified individual who represents continuity, fairness, diversity and professionalism. This is truly a fresh […]

Obama Hopes to Sidestep Congress to Have ‘a Year of Action’

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WASHINGTON – With a largely uncooperative, highly-partisan Congress headed into a mid-term election, President Obama declared in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night that he will have ‘a year of action’ by expanding economic opportunity through executive orders and other action that do not require legislative approval. “I’m eager to work with all […]

White House Warns Obama Could Go Around Congress

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WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama will work with Congress where he can and circumvent lawmakers where he must, his top advisers warned Sunday in previewing Tuesday’s State of the Union speech. Obama faces a politically divided Congress on Tuesday and will use his annual address to demand expanded economic opportunity. Absent legislative action, the White […]

City Clerk Rejects STOP Petitions – No Vote Scheduled on Arena

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DOWNTOWN SACRAMENTO – The Sacramento City Clerk put the brakes on a June ballot measure asking voters to approve or deny public funding for a downtown sports and entertainment center. Shirley Concolino, the City Clerk rejected the measure, citing discrepancies with petitions used to put the measure on the June ballot. Nine different versions of […]

Poll: People See Obama as Nice Guy, So-So Prez

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WASHINGTON – Nice guy, so-so president. Taking stock of President Barack Obama at the five-year mark in his term, less than a third of Americans consider him to be an above-average chief executive. Nearly twice as many find him likable. A new Associated Press-GfK Poll finds the president’s personal image to be on the rebound […]

State of The Union: High Volume, Low Yield

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WASHINGTON – Here’s a little secret about the State of the Union address that President Barack Obama will deliver next week: He’ll give Congress a long list of requests but few likely will be approved. That’s just the reality of a politically divided government. Take a look at what happened after last year’s speech. Congress […]

White House Seeks to Help Expand Education Opportunity

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WASHINGTON – Thirty years ago, one year of tuition, room, and board at a nation’s four-year, degree-granting institution cost $8,756 on average (or $3,499, when adjusted for inflation). As of 2010, that figure had almost tripled to $22,092 – and that’s just for one year. To meet this economic hurdle, 39.6 million Americans have turned […]

Group Seeks Independent Statehood For African Americans

These advocates for Independent Statehood for African Americans are seeking local support. Shown left to right are Devon Muhammad, Debra Sanau Barnes, and Leon Muhammad. OBSERVER photo by Antonio R. Harvey

SACRAMENTO — There is a national petition floating about that is asking Black Americans, whose parents or grandparents were descendants from slavery, to establish a separate state or territory of their own. The organizers who are pushing the movement say it not about hate, disdain or rebellion. But the formal request is to help African […]

Senate Democrats Vote to End Filibuster

Sen. Majority Leader Reid

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats eased the way for swift approval of President Barack Obama’s current and future nominees on Thursday, voting unilaterally to overturn decades of Senate precedent and undermine Republicans’ ability to block final votes. The 52-48 vote to undercut venerable filibuster rules on presidential appointees capped more than a decade of struggle in […]