Sam Racadio wanted to be a coach.
“I always loved sports,” he told the Kiwanis Club of Highland at the club’s Thursday, Jan. 12. “I played football. Once when they introduced me on the loudspeaker, the announcer said, ‘Sam Racadio, wide receiver, five foot six. Wait ... Maybe that was supposed to be six foot five.’ Then he saw me on the field and he corrected that. ‘ No, it’s five foot six.’ “
After graduation from the University of Redlands, Sam went for his Master’s degree at U-C Riverside where his future changed.
He saw a card on the bulletin board looking for an intern at Riverside City hall.
“I would be making $15 an hour, so I jumped at the chance,” he recalls. “I had no concept of local government.”
But he realized that “self actualization means doing what you want to do,” and decided that what he wanted to do was be a city manager.
After almost 40 years in local government, “I realized was cut out to be a city manager. It was the best thing I could do. And I fell that I went out on top.”
He was Highland’s city manager a,mst from incorporation in 1987.
After retirement, he served a brief stint on the Planning Commission and then ran for City Council where he served for a full term and was reelected to serve another term before the change to district boundaries.
Finding himself in the same district as Councilman John Timmer, Racadio stepped aside, retiring once again from public service.
“When city managers get together, they refer to the city council as ‘the dark side,’ It’s a lot different.”
While a city manager takes care of the day-to-day operation, the City Council sets policy and a direction for the future.
“We all have different roles,” he said.
Sam and his wife served a couple of years in the Peace Corps. In fact, his youngest daughter was born in Venezuela and still has dual citizenship.
Along the way, they had five children and now have a couple of grandchildren.
Using his captivating combination of humor and fact, Racadio held his audience for almost an hour, and they were begging for more as the meeting ended.
The Kiwanis Club of Highland meets Thursdays at 7:15 a.m. at the East Highlands Ranch Stone House, 7136 Club View Drive. Visitors always welcome.