Faces in the crowd — George Robertson
A seasonal fixture at the Truckee Town Council meetings, George Robertson said he started attending town council meetings “for the fun of it.”
Many people – including council members and town staff – have wondered why he was so frequently at the regular council meetings, which convene twice each month, and at most of the council’s special meetings.
“I’ve been asked why many times,” said the 76-year-old retired bakery supply company owner.
“I normally gave the answer, ‘it’s much more interesting than Thursday night television’.”
However, there’s more to it than that.
“I really enjoy the proceedings, I enjoy listening to the debate,” he said. “I recently came to the conclusion that the main reason I go is for the satisfaction on knowing I’ve had some little say or input in the young town.”
Robertson, who is not a former elected official but has served as an officer in service clubs, speaks up at just about every meeting he attends.
“There’s usually something I’m interested in at every meeting, and I speak to it,” he said.
He said town council members don’t always listen to or agree with him, but he still speaks.
“They’ve been very kind in letting me have my input whenever the occasion arises,” he said. “They are all very nice people and I enjoy being associated with them.
“We have a good town manager and staff. All they need is input. We’ve got to have faith in these people and I do.”
While Robertson said he has not encouraged others to become more active in the political process, he said his general feeling is that a lot of people should be interested and more involved.
“You’re more involved if you’re there,” he said.
If people watch the meetings on television, he said, they sometimes sit back and say the town should do things differently.
“You’re talking to your television,” Robertson said. “If you’re there, you can talk. It’s easy enough to criticize later.” He did admit that he had watched the meetings on the tube a time or two, due to prior commitments.
Robertson also suggested that people who come to the meetings to speak on particular issues early in the meeting should stay until the end and “not walk out when their needs are met.”
“At 11 o’clock at night, I’m the only ‘public’ there. I should get paid,” he said and laughed.
From May to October each year, Robertson seldom misses a town council meeting.
However, the self-described “snowbird” and his wife Ellen migrate each year from November to April to warmer places such as San Diego, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas or “wherever we feel like going.”
The Robertsons built their home in Glenshire in 1988-89, but have lived in Truckee “off and on” for about 20 years.
In 1974 the couple sold their bakery supply company in Sacramento to a larger company. Soon after, they sold their home in Davis, bought a 30-foot travel trailer and traveled to places including Mexico, Florida, the East Coast, Canada and, of course, Truckee.
For a few years, the Robertsons settled in San Diego and did seasonal income tax preparation work because they were too young and active to quit working entirely.
“We felt we needed to be doing something, and a few dollars didn’t hurt anything,” he said.
The couple eventually decided to settle in Truckee because they have two daughters who live in Truckee, one son who lives in Reno and six grandchildren who live in the area.
“That’s why we built our home here.”
In addition to his involvement in local government, Robertson is an elder in the First Baptist Church, and he and his wife are volunteers at the Tahoe Forest Hospital where they both have received pins for 500 hours of service. Robertson, who enjoys dancing, said plans for the future are to be with family, volunteer and be helpful where they can, and to “praise the Lord that we have the strength and the opportunity to do what we are doing.”
(Do you know someone who stands out from the crowd? As Andy Warhol said, everyone deserves at least 15 minutes of fame. To nominate a “face in the crowd,” contact Editor Peter Kostes at 587-6061 or send a note to P.O. Box 2973, Truckee, CA 96160.)
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