Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Amsterdam, NY ,

A sit-down with the five families

Saturday, February 15, 2014 - Updated: 4:09 AM

As always with pictures come a thousand words. Folks, for this next one I'm not sure whether to laugh, cry or lose control of my bladder. In the Jan. 30 edition of The Recorder a photo depicted 3rd Alderman Ronald J. Barone Sr. and Mayor Anne Thane throwing hand gestures at each other. This particular photo had to do with a compromise the mayor offered to the Common Council on contracts with the former golf pro and concessionaire. After reading the story the indication is it didn't go very well showing progress and cooperation being that of only wishful words.

Do the animated hand gestures and its conference room atmosphere remind you of a scene from one of the most popular movies of all time? The movie I am speaking of is "The Godfather." If you are an avid follower of the Godfather trilogy I'd suggest going back to view a scene in the first "Godfather" movie showing a meeting of the five families in New York sitting at this long conference table expressing their concerns over the warring Corleone and Tattaglia families. This meeting took place after the murder of Vito Corleone's son Sonny.

It was supposed to bring about peace between the two feuding families. Emilio Barzini presided over the meeting and acted as mediator. Can you think of someone with similar powers sitting in the council chamber? At the meeting, Vito realized that the other New York dons had secretly aligned themselves with Emilio Barzini in order to force the Corleone family into sharing its political protection with the rest of the commission. Also involved was a burgeoning drug trade which Vito opposed. Vito reluctantly agreed to share his political influence to protect the drug trade and avoid further bloodshed between the five families. However, in the end, Vito discovered it was Barzini all along that planned the hit on Sonny which eventually leads to Michael (Vito's youngest son and successor) eliminating all four heads of families and take full control.

As you take a look at this dramatic photo between our mayor and alderman I would like to share with you a somewhat different version which includes transcript from the new upcoming movie "The Godmother." Please keep in mind some of the transcript from the original Godfather movie has been altered for your pleasure and entertainment purposes only. So without further ado and losing control of your bladder let's have a little fun. Sit back, relax, grab some popcorn and enjoy the movie.

"The Godmother, Part I"

Introduction: The scene takes place in the council chambers at city hall where tension is in the air between two warring parties on a golf contract. There are the five dons seated around the conference table. In a chair next to the most powerful don is the consigliere (known as a counselor or adviser to the boss). This position also has the responsibility of representing the boss in important meetings and is one of the few in the family who can argue with the boss on any plans. The head don of the five wards arrives in the room to offer her compromise in hoping to end the distrust and disagreements of the contract. Standing at the head of the table, the don begins to speak.

Don Veto Anne: "Consigliere Gerry, I want to thank you for helping me organize the meeting here today and also the other heads of the five wards."

After that statement Consigliere Gerry assists Don Veto Anne in sitting down. Looking at the Consigliere she nods and then speaks to the five heads.

Don Veto Anne: "How did things ever get so far? I don't know. It was so -- unfortunate -- so unnecessary. You lost a compromise -- I lost a contract. We're quits, and if Don Ron agrees then I'm willing to -- let things go on the way they were before."

Don Ron: "We're all grateful to Don Veto Anne for calling this meeting. We all know her as a woman of her word -- a modest woman -- she'll always listen to reason."

Suddenly Don Diane interjects.

Don Diane: "Yes, Don Ron -- she's too modest. She has the consigliere and all the politicians in her back pocket which she refuses to share."

Don Veto Anne: When -- when did I ever refuse an accommodation? All of you know me here -- when did I ever refuse? Except one time and why? Because I believe this contract business is gonna destroy us in years to come. I mean, it's not like a mural or statues which is something most people want nowadays. I believed that then and I believe it now."

Don Ron: "Times have changed. It's not like the old days when we can do anything we want. A refusal is not the act of a friend. If Don Veto Anne has all the counselors and politicians then she must share and let others use them. She must let us draw from the well. After all, we are not Communists." (After that statement laughter is heard throughout the room)

Don Veto Anne: "I hoped that we would come here and reason together. As a reasonable woman I'm willing to do whatever's necessary to find a peaceful solution to these problems.

Don Ron: "Then we are agreed. The two contracts will be permitted, but controlled and Don Veto Anne will sign the contracts -- and there will be peace?"

Don Diane: "But I must have strict assurance from Don Veto Anne. As time goes by and her position becomes stronger will she attempt any individual vendetta?"

Don Ron: "Look, we are all reasonable people here we don't have to give assurances here as if we were lawyers."

Don Veto Anne suddenly holds up her hand to interrupt Don Ron and directing her response towards Don Diane.

Don Veto Anne: "You talk about vengeance -- is vengeance gonna bring back our city? Because of this contract I have to make arrangements to be cleared of any wrongdoings. But I am a superstitious woman and if some change in the contract should happen -- then I'm going to blame some of the people in this room -- and that I do not forgive. But that aside let me say I will not be the one to break the peace that we have made here today."

Don Veto Anne leaves the room along with Consigliere Gerry and goes inside the official city car to discuss business. Parked under a dim street light the counselor speaks.

Consigliere Gerry: "When I meet with Don Diane should I insist all contracts are signed and legal?"

Don Veto Anne: "Mention it -- don't insist. Don Ron is a man who'll know that without being told."

Consigliere Gerry: "You mean Don Diane."

Don Veto Anne: "Don Diane is a puppet -- she could have never outfoxed me. But I didn't know until this day that it was -- Don Ron all along."

And the saga continues...

Until next time -- hold that thought.

MIKE LAZAROU is an Amsterdam native and a regular columnist. You may contact him at


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