The Augusta Chronicle asked each of the six mayoral candidates specific questions. Here are the questions and candidate Bob Young's responses:
Q: It is four years from now, 2002. You've finished a four-year term as mayor. What's different as a result of your administration?
A: We have a government here that people have confidence in, that is providing the services in a responsive manner to the people in this community, the basic services that they need to sustain the quality of life that you would expect in Georgia's second-largest city. We have a growth-management plan in place, and it is guiding the development of residential and industrial and commercial areas in Richmond County. We have in place an economic-development plan which we're using to market Augusta to the rest of the United States and the world as a place to nurture and grow businesses.
Q: What can you contribute to Augusta and its residents as mayor that the other candidates can't?
A: I can contribute to the mayor's office a can-do attitude; a hard worker; an honest person; someone who believes in the people of Augusta and Richmond County, that they can control their own destiny here; someone who has global experience; someone who understands that this government is not going to work unless the people can buy into it and have confidence in it; someone who has been a communicator all his life to communicate with the public and the political leaders in this community; someone who has been a consensus builder in many respects in many of the projects I've been involved in; someone who has a vision for this community; someone who's thinking of the big picture; someone who's forward-thinking.
Q: What is the worst mistake you ever made outside of politics?
A: Maybe there's a regret more than a mistake. I regret that I never completed my flight training that was offered to me under the GI Bill. I got out of the service but I waited too late and the benefits expired and I never got to get my multi-engine rating and achieve the other aeronautical ratings that I had wanted to do. That's a regret. That's not quite a mistake.
Q: What decision in your life had consequences you never would have expected?
A: The choice of my career as a broadcaster. I have been places and seen things and met people which I otherwise would have never been exposed to. And it's like I have been living a dream in some respects. How many people go to North Carolina and go to Billy Graham's house and sit down and talk to him for an hour? How many people travel around the world as guests of foreign governments and meet top-level dignitaries and get individual, specialized briefings.
Q: What is the best book you ever read?
A: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.
Q: What do you count as your greatest accomplishment in life, outside of your family?
A: I think the things that I have been able to do for other people through my career. Most people are in a career for what it does for them, for their financial security or the things it brings to them. But having a career in community service and the business of broadcasting has really allowed me to do things for other people that they otherwise cannot do for themselves.
Q: Explain what actions you would take in these areas of concern:
A: Recycling should start with the consolidated government. There should be an active program to recycle resources within the government. I'd like to curbside recycling in the urban and suburban areas of Augusta where possible. And I'd like to see Augusta become very pro-active in an education process to encourage people in this community to conserve natural resources, plus look at what some other communities are doing and bring some of those ideas home here.
A: As my former boss used to say, `We don't have a problem. We have an opportunity for improvement.' And we have a long way to go in getting our library system in Augusta up to speed. We've got to give it some immediate attention. And just how we're going to solve the problem I don't have the answer to that. I think we need the input from the library board, the people who use the library, the people in government who know what resources are available through state and local funds. Let's decide what kind of library system we want in Augusta, and then let's make the commitment to fund it and then develop those sources of funding to make it happen.
Streets and Roads:
A: We've got to have our plans for our short-term and long-term projects to pave roads, to resurface roads to re-build roads. We've also got to consider our future transportation needs, as far as where will the new roads be built, and that should come into play in our growth management that we do here.
A: There should never be any doubt that we will have a reliable supply of water in our homes and in our businesses. There should be no doubt about that. We've got to restore confidence in our water department. We've got to set our priorities for rebuilding our infrastructure, giving immediate attention to that and expanding our system to meet the needs of future growth. We've got to stop siphoning money from the system. We've got to use that money to shore up the system and expand it.
A: I don't think we have dealt with the problem when we have just changed the manner of execution of animals. We've got to recognize we've got a problem with stray animals here, and it's not getting any better. And I think the mayor can get very active in promoting the need to neuter and spay animals and the responsibility that goes with that.
But also, I think we need to look at what other communities are doing to control wild animals and loose pets and how we can reduce the number of animals that are being executed each month or put to death each month.