Richard Cardoza leans back in his chair behind his desk at Multi-Com Insurance, papers and files neatly stacked in front of him.

His daughter, Megan, calls out from the front desk. “Do you want to go to Idaho Pizza for lunch?”

Carodza responds, “Nah, I was just going to walk over to Enrique’s.”

Enrique’s is one of Cardoza’s go-to lunch spots, because of the food and the convenience (two doors down) from his office on Main Street. Cardoza has managed Multi-Com Insurance for about 30 years when he and eight other Idaho men started the business.

Over the last 12 years, Cardoza has also served on the Kuna City Council. This November, he was re-elected to serve another four years. He will be sworn in Jan. 2.

WHO IS RICHARD CARDOZA?

At Enrique’s, Cardoza goes through the buffett, but there’s only one thing he really wants: the jalapeño mushrooms in a wine sauce.

“If I thought I could get away with it,” he jokes, “I’d just eat the mushrooms.”

Over lunch, Cardoza continues explaining how his business, Multi-Com Insurance, came to be.

Cardoza got into the insurance business after his house burned down in 1972, shortly after he moved to Kuna. Most of the farmhouse was destroyed, but the washer and dryer were OK. After moving them into the field away from the burnt structure, someone stole the machines.

Cardoza said he was disappointed and frustrated with the insurance agent who handled his claims. The agent, Cardoza said, said that the washer and dryer were part of the house fire claim and since they were intact, would not cover their replacement. Cardoza told them he felt the washer and dryer should be part of a theft claim, and he should be reimbursed.

After two weeks of phone calls, letters and arguments, the insurance commission Cardoza was involved with agreed he should be awarded money for the stolen washer and dryer, a separate claim from his burned down house.

“I thought more and more about the frustration,” Cardoza said, “Then I got more and more interested (in insurance), then I became an agent.”

He’s been an agent ever since 1981. In 1987, Cardoza and eight other men got together from multiple companies to form Multi-Com Insurance, hence its name. Cardoza is the last of the men running the business.

“They’re all retired now,” Cardoza said.

“So now, maybe, it should be Uni-Com,” Megan jokes.

Back at the office, Cardoza describes his community involvement over the 41 years he’s lived in Kuna. The work he’s most proud and fond of, he said, is with Kuna’s Community Auction.

For about 30 years, Cardoza, Kuna FFA and other volunteers helped raise money for community members affected by a fire or other disaster.

Though the Kuna Community Auction disbanded about eight years ago, Cardoza still has a memento showcasing his memories of the local auction.

Cardoza has paid a pretty penny, sometimes several hundred dollars, for, well, a penny.

Cardoza would often get in a bidding war with Kuna resident Lloyd Stubbs for that 2002 penny, currently framed on a wall in Cardoza’s office. One year, he bid $800 for it.

“I paid dearly every year for a few years for that penny,” Cardoza said with a chuckle. “(The auction) was similar to Melba’s, with neighbors trying to outbid each other, laughing.”

Cardoza remembers that one year, someone donated a goat to the auction. The goat was later tied to a business’ door knob in the night. The next night, the goat was tied to a different business’ door knob.

This went on for two weeks, Cardoza said.

“You never knew if you were going to come to work and there would be the goat tied to your door,” he said. “I kind of miss that little community, where you know everyone on Main Street.”

“It was a nice little town,” he continued, “but time changes. I think Melba represents what Kuna was like when I moved here.”

Cardoza said he thinks Kuna is ready for the growth it is seeing and anticipating. When Kuna wasn’t growing, Cardoza said, he remembers the city receiving just enough money to pay its bills. Now, the city budget has money for projects, such as the splash pad coming in May.

“It’s a good example of what can come with growth and extra income,” Cardoza said.

One thing Cardoza said about his experience in city government was that he went in with the attitude of effecting change, such as changing things that bothered him, but, he found out, changes come slowly due to three other council members who will either vote with you or against you.

Cardoza said he remembers some council meetings going until 2:30 a.m. because there was much to discuss. Part of that was also because the process of council meetings was not as streamlined as it is today.

One thing about the City Council that Cardoza would like to change is the meeting time. It used to be 7 p.m., Cardoza said, which he felt was better for commuting residents. Now the meetings are at 6 p.m.

However, Cardoza said he enjoys serving on the council, and the people he serves with.

“We have a good mayor, a good council,” Cardoza said. “One thing I like about Kuna (government) is that at this level there is no party affiliation. It’s refreshing to know taxpayers have influence in (local) politics.”

Alx Stevens is the reporter for Kuna Melba News. Contact her at 208-922-3008 or editor@kunamelba.com.

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