Readers pick top issues in Augusta

We asked and you answered.


Three weeks ago, The Augusta Chronicle asked residents to tell the newspaper what they consider the top four issues facing the area.

Your choices, in order by vote totals:

- Gangs

- Economic development

- Garden City (beautification efforts)

- Poverty

One reader wrote this regarding gang activity in the Augusta area:

"It is ridiculous for our society to be held hostage by individuals who associate with gangs. Essentially, we need laws in this state that holds members of a gang responsible for every crime committed by another member. We already have laws that hold responsible the driver of a getaway car for all the crimes committed by the robber. Why not do the same for GANGS? Every member of a gang benefits when one member robs a store or sells drugs."

Voters chose these topics from a list compiled by the newspaper.

The other choices were health care access; graduation rates; downtown Augusta; Hyde Park; unwed births; and whether the part of town you live in determines the quality and level of city services received.

Readers were also asked to send in choices that didn't appear on the list. Some of the write-ins include the environment, racial quotas in hiring by local government, trains and care for the elderly.

The issue that received the most write-ins concerned the direction of county government, with many of the letters and e-mails specifically criticizing how the Augusta Commission operates.

A sampling includes this e-mail: "Richmond County has the worst government in the state of Georgia. The county commissioners cannot agree on anything even if it is in the best interest of the county. Augusta old guard needs to be replaced, they have been the downfall to Georgia's second largest city."

Voting ended Dec. 31.

The top four vote-getters will be examined by The Chronicle in a series of in-depth stories throughout 2007.

Reach Mike Wynn at (706) 823-3218 or