BOND, JULIAN BOND. Legendary civil-rights leader Julian Bond lies dead at 75. I had the honor of corresponding with the great man last November and utilized his words as we helped prevent Assemblymember Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, from becoming speaker of Nevada’s lower house.
Bond went out in the saddle, working for the cause until the day he died. My role model.
IRON MAN. Last Friday, more than 100 of his closest friends laid union leader Richard Ciesynski to rest. He served as business representative of Sparks Ironworkers Local 118 and as president of the Rail City-based Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada/AFL-CIO.
From the back pew, I observed a kaleidoscope of broken bodies, former iron workers and other prematurely old construction laborers. Some of them endured pain just getting through the door.
SURFING STEEL. About 20 years ago, I accompanied one of Ciesynski’s successors onto the raw steel of a Peppermill high rise.
I was led onto corrugated base flooring that resembled super heavy-gauge tin. Girders and welding sparks surrounded us.
Cracks between the still-unsecured steel sections showed the next level some 60 feet below.
It felt like standing on a boat in a choppy sea.
“You get used to things moving under you,” union rep Danny Costella told me.
Dangerous work, worth the highest skilled wages in the industry.
Things like that make me allergic to the plaints of union-busting moonhowlers who think everyone should work for poverty wages to remain competitive in the face of global competition.
I DID IT MY WAY. Ciesynski, 81, fulfilled every stereotype of the gruff, gravel-voiced, square-built, wide-bodied, ham-fisted, unyielding, pig-headed union boss.
You could say of him what Paul Anika said about Frank Sinatra: If he liked you, he liked you. That made Rich the most loyal friend you could have.
Some of today’s union leaders need a little more of the fire that burned brightly in Richard Ciesynski.
Armies need attack dogs. I resemble that remark, which is why I got along with that old Polish wrench.
Some retired union men who Ciesynski drove nuts – who hated his guts – nonetheless showed up to pay their respects.
If just one such person does the same when you are gone, rest in peace knowing you’ve lived a good life.
SHE’S BACK. On Channel 4 at noon Wednesday, Aug. 26, Assemblymember Machine Gun Michele Fiore, R-Gomorrah South, guests on Sam Shad’s Nevada Newsmakers. Wonder if Sam will make her check her guns at the door. Watch my Italian fantasy girl and maybe you’ll find out. Charter cable victims may view the first rerun at 9:30 p.m. on channel 190.
NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Lone Star Beer, apparently stands ignorant of the fact that Israel has had nukes for decades. On the Aug. 14 edition of Jon Ralston’s PBS fest, Cruzader Vader launched into an anti-Iran diatribe decrying the dangers of a middle-eastern country developing nuclear weapons.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 46-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail <email@example.com>. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.