Musical Op-Ed: “Chappaqua Double-Crossing”

August 6, 2010
by Lee Seham

In “Read more…” find lyrics and chords to Seham’s composition.  To hear the tune, see the YouTube of Seham performing it, also in “Read more…”

Chappaqua Double-Crossing

I’m cross at the developer, but now am cross at you. G
Our fine schools are at risk and there’s no question what to do. CG
You know how strong we feel, and yet you’ll try to ram it through. G
How many times do we have to say No?   GDG

I told you in your survey and then on the telephone: G
My home is in New Castle and New Castle is my home.   CG
They knew what they were buying now they want to re-rezone.   G
How many times do we have to say No? GDG

And you can ask a million times, the answer’s still the same.  DCG
‘Cause it’s about our families, it isn’t just a game.  DCG
So listen closely one more time— CG
We’ll try to say it slow: CG

I have seen the future madam and what do you think I see? G
My life in idle as I sit at Exit 33.     CG
Please have some respect for Chappaqua democracy. G
How many times do we have to say No?   GDG


From NCNOW’s archives:  Op-Ed: New Castle’s Manhood, November 30, 2007, by Lee Seham.

Lee Seham is a labor, employment and immigration attorney who has lived in Chappaqua for over 13 years.

We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

Very creative, but exactly the kind of thing this debate does not need.  Can we please get a reasonable group of citizens/board members to sit down and hammer out a win-win?  Sitting down, discussing, negotiating, in a positive manner with a sincere eye towards reaching an agreement leaves us nothing to lose…the town can always walk away if a fair deal is not reachable (I truly do mean fair, not we get everything we want and they get nothing, or vice-versa).  But we have not done this—we have been obstinate and negative.  I give this video an A+ for creativity (and nice singing voice!) but a C- for constructiveness.

By dpapes on 08/06/2010 at 9:07 am

Love the musical Op-Ed! Terrific song, and gets right to the point. Thank you Lee for taking the time to write and perform it and state in a unique form how I believe many of us are feeling. No means NO!

By Jane Shepardson on 08/06/2010 at 9:33 am

Hey, this environmental review process and the developer’s post card spin has been so wearing, I’m happy for a little relief! Hey—there haven’t been any post cards lately making fantastic tax-benefits-to-New-Castle claims. Now THAT’s something we can do without.  But music and a laugh?  Let them be!

By Bravo, Lee! on 08/06/2010 at 11:16 am

Thanks, Lee for singing it out! To dpapes, it is highly likely that the developer has organized all the tools within his power to make happen what he wants to happen.  His lawyers are ready and waiting.  Why not use the tools WE have—whether they’re song or lawyers for us, too—to make our case for the town?  I think the discussion is going pretty well.  I’m very interested to hear what the two boards have to say to one another.  There’s some misunderstanding that needs to be articulated.  Tues, town hall, 7pm.  I’ll be there. Lee, bring your guitar!

By A good voice to hear on 08/06/2010 at 11:25 am

This whole matter has been so wearying to the town.  This was good for me.  Mr. Seham, please consider performing at the gazebo next summer!  Is there more where this came from?

By Thanks for making me smile! on 08/06/2010 at 1:26 pm

I can see MY life, too, idling at Exit 33, if the town board doesn’t stand and protect the town.  We have better (and worse) things to think about than this.  Let’s move on.  The Other Lee—Lee Bowen—has made a sensible suggestion.  Why hasn’t the town board acted to boost the developer’s commercial revenues potential by lifting that damned cap?  And get the town some concessions for doing so!  The developer has had a free pass till now. 

To dpapes, above: The town has been much more than accommodating from the beginning of this process, changing the zoning once, then again.  I can only think that the developer entered this town knowing what the zoning allowed and hoping simply to tucker out the board and residents.

By Right On, Lee! on 08/06/2010 at 1:32 pm

Any way you sing or say it.  The message is the same.  Madame Supervisor:

Say NO to bribery and empire building!  6.5 acres in this prime location for Town Government use and still more fields with marginal usefulness increases day traffic and inconvenience to vast majority of residents.  It also takes 6.5 acres of prime taxable single family home real estate off the town tax rolls.

Say NO to multiple story apartment buildings in single family locations and increased building height from 35 to 50 feet.

Say NO to residential condo development at Chappaqua Crossing.

Say NO to the enormous and permanent increase in traffic.

Say NO to tax unfairness to current New Castle homeowners should the proposal be adopted.

Say NO to providing sewer connections for a newcomer when so many homes have been waiting ahead on line for many years to connect.

Say NO to higher school taxes because of the Chappaqua Crossing residential plan.  Listen to the Chappaqua Central School Board.  They have this one right.

The residents are saying NO please represent their interests, exercise their proxy, and say NO to the Chappaqua Crossing Plan I and Plan G too!

By Town Board Proxy on 08/06/2010 at 1:35 pm

Dear “Thanks for Making Me Smile”:

Thank you so much for your kind words.

Yes, there are other songs that are all intended to make a point and get a smile.  New Castle Now staff recorded a few others, including:  1) NY Food (in which I angrily denigrate the produce of other states), 2) I Can’t See the Light (how I got ticketed in my two-seat hybrid for following an SUV through a traffic light), and 3) I Love My Dog (about how nice it is that I don’t have to wait for my canine daughter to “put her face on” before we go to town.  I think New Castle Now will to put a link to those as well.

By Lee Seham on 08/06/2010 at 9:57 pm

Mr. Seham,

You are a delight and what a beautiful singing voice you have! BRING YOUR GUITAR, PLEASE, to the August 10 meeting! 

Perhaps, the Board is having difficulty understanding ordinary language—addressing them musically might help and I know it will make us all smile.

By Many Thanks on 08/08/2010 at 3:28 pm

Mr. Papes,

Isn’t it coincidental that you make precisely the same argument that Mr. Marwell, the Summit Greenfield attorney, has made in almost the same language?


By What a Coincidence!!! on 08/08/2010 at 3:45 pm

Totally agree with Mr. Seeham (as a fellow guitarist minus the voice)!  What part of NO does the developer and the town board not understand. This is our town, not the developer’s nor the board’s, although they are elected to represent us, with the key word “represent.” Other opinions ( you know who you are) stated here on behalf of the developer, must be on good terms with the developer in “some” way. The developer is savvy enough to negotiate with the town from a commercial standpoint that the town can live with. No one here needs to tell the developer how compromise, but to look up the word in the dictionary, and then learn how to use it!! We want Chappaqua to basically remain how it is, except to improve the downtown hardscape and landscape. To make it more enticing for people to walk and talk and stop and shop!

By JOHN NADLER on 08/10/2010 at 1:10 pm

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