Decisionmakers: John Bergman
An interest in politics spurred John Bergman’s involvement with the North Tahoe Public Utility District.
The New Jersey native studied political science and history at Livingston College in his home state before he drove out West with a college buddy in 1974.
Bergman spent his first years in Tahoe washing dishes, driving a taxi and selling ads, but his political drive took him into publishing at the High Sierra Times in the late 1970s.
“[The Times] did keep my political curiosity on the provincial level,” Bergman said. He covered the beginnings of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Placer County’s efforts to control development by refusing to issue building permits. “It was a pretty interesting time, and it’s still going on, as a matter of fact.”
Local governments must maintain a fine balance between stewardship of the lake and equitable private development interests, Bergman said.
In 1983, Bergman started his own graphic design business, “Print Art,” and has since established himself in the community.
It was his political drive, again, that caused him to fill a vacancy on the district’s board of directors in 2002. Though the district’s jurisdiction is sewer, water and recreation, Bergman said the district does have a role as a local political entity.
“In the absence of a local government, I think we have to be careful of diluting the [public utility district’s] energies on matters about which we have no control,” Bergman said. “However, we do need to participate at whatever level we can with Placer County to help bring our tax dollars back to our community.”
Bergman said the district has recently made a quantum leap in policy by considering debt financing as an alternative for funding much-needed capital improvement projects. Assuring financing for such projects is Bergman’s immediate goal. That, and continuing to encourage vibrant, political participation from the community.
“The fact that this community has become more vibrant and politically active is great,” Bergman said. “No matter what people’s opinions and political persuasions are, they should continue to come to the meetings and raise hell.”