Are Dems trying to squelch the GOP at the Union County Fair?

I caught this in one of the Union County Newspapers yesterday. Dr. Thomas Burns of McCook Lake expressing his displeasure at the Union County Fair Manager who disinvited the GOP because it supposedly "compete with a business uptown."

And what is this flap all about? Smoothies.

Yup, someone in town might be also selling smoothies to the populace, and THOSE DAMN REPUBLICANS ARE GOING TO RUIN THEIR BUSINESS.

You have got to be kidding me. And not just a little.

This is despite the fact that I'm sure that aside from the offending smoothies, there likely are people offering such oddities at the fair such as soda pop, ice cream, popcorn, bbq's (or taverns), cheeseburgers, and a plethora of fried oddities. And somehow, I imagine if you look hard enough, you can find somone offering fountain pop in town.

Are we going to next hear about other vendors being kicked out of the county fair because they might offer (shudder) BOTTLED WATER?!?

Yes, the sarcasm is dripping today.

So what do I think is driving this, as if you couldn't tell from the blogpost headline?


Yes, I'm sure I'll get a few comments saying "you don't know what you're talking about." But I'd find it hard to believe that it wasn't politics.

It's just too coincidental when I went up to the library to dig this up. I went and did a search on the Fair Manager's name, Janelle O'Connor.

If you've been involved in politics at any length, the O'Connor name has popped up here and there involved in Democratic politics. So, I went on my fishing expedition.

I first found the article at the left noting Janelle as Fair Manager and to contact her if you'd like exhibit space for the fair this weekend. But as I dug, I also found another article with her name in it.

Yes, this article would seem to show the exact same Janelle O'Connor as being the point of contact for the Union County Democrats.

My, what a coincidence.

The Fair Manager who kicks the Republicans out of the fair is also the point of contact for the Democratic County party.

And that's despite the County GOP apparently conducting the same activities last year with no incidents. But this year, Janelle is apparently telling them that "they might compete with a business uptown."

Sorry, without a better reason this smacks of politics to me. And that's a poor reason to deny a group their access to the fair.

So, my message to Janelle? Knock off the partisanship and next year, Let my smoothies go.


Anonymous said…
PP - I think you missed the big question. Were the Republicans collecting sales tax on the smoothies?
Anonymous said…
Who does the inspections for health code violations at county fairs?
Anonymous said…
From reading this they were not kicked out of the fair and will be there with a booth. They just are not selling the drinks.
Ike said…
Someone else needs to get disinvited to the fair - and it'ain't the GOP. Wanted: County Fair Manager. Salary: as many corn dogs and fried cheese curds you can handle. Benefits: free rides on the Tilt-A-Whirl.
Anonymous said…
Janelle O'Connor is more than just the point of contact for the Union County Dems. She is the chair.

She is also on the SD State Dems Executive Board.

And she has a lovely testimonial for Herseth for Congress.
Anonymous said…
Just got back from the fair....the first thing you see when you walk into the commercial building is the Dems booth! You can find the GOP booth aound the corner next to the restrooms, the very last booth in the building.
Jake Mortenson said…
Good piece of investigative reporting, sir. Ain't the internet great?
Anonymous said…
I love your fake scandals.
Anonymous said…
This is not new. Janelle O'Connor has been abusing her position for years.

I saw where the Union County GOP was placed and the whole thing makes me sick.

Mrs. O'Connor used her position as fair director to keep the Republicans hidden and that's wrong.

No vending stand means no exposure to the public in the fareway. Then the fair director puts them in the least visible booth by the toilets.

Janelle O'Connor should be asked to step down as the fair director. Union County should not fund a function that discriminates against political parties.


No, just abuse of authority, discrimination, and a whole bowl of wrong.
Art Carney said…
I'll never ride a tilt-a-whirl again. Those Godless anti-smoothites. The right to blend fruit must be "preserved". Isn't that covered under "Liberty" or "The pursuit of happiness" or, dare I say, "life" itself. PP, have you identified this Uptown Smoothilini?

So the GOP doesn't like its spot in the big tent? Better send out Napoli so he can call down a mighty reckoning upon those ring-tossing, dart-throwing, pie-eating, coupon-buying, secular, communist, un-Sibson merrygorounders.
PP said…
You know, it's just basically an issue of fairness.

Yes, if they are selling a product, subject them to sales tax and health inspection as would any other vendor.

Do you think they wouldn't grouse if the positions were reversed.

Frankly, I hope this is brought to the attention of the media in that area. If there's a legitimate defense, let's hear it.

Because it sounds pretty indefensible.
Anonymous said…
A booth by the restrooms - not a high traffic area? Are you claiming the folks in Union county all wear diapers?
Anonymous said…
That letter written by Dr. Burns is inaccurate and misleading. Mrs. O'Connor is NOT the fair manager - Union County does not have a fair manager. Instead, she is one of several fair board members who volunteer their time. Mrs. O'Connor receives the applications for the booths, which are then reviewed by the entire fair board. That group - and not just Mrs. O'Connor - decides on who will be vendors at the fair. The Republicans didn't bother to get permission last year before they sold their smoothies. They just showed up with the smoothie stuff without mentioning their plans to the fair board. As far as I could see, there were no duplicate items on sale anywhere at the fair on Friday. It appears that Dr. Burns decided to make an issue out of the smoothie deal because Mrs. O'Connor, who volunteers her time in several venues, happens to be on the fair board and also serves as the county Democratic chair. Fair volunteers are few and far between in Union County. If Mrs. O'Connor resigns her fair board position, I hope Dr. Burns is prepared to take her place and actually work instead of just writing letters.
Anonymous said…
Mrs. O'Connor is a partisan hack and this is no suprise. She should resign.
Anonymous said…
Where, in that clipping about Union County Fair exhibits, is Janelle O'Connor identified as the fair manager? Read through it CAREFULLY again and you will realize that it does not say that. It does not say that because that is not true! As far as the big scoop about her being the Union County Democratic contact - and chairperson, it certainly is no secret that she is involved in Democratic politics. Those notices run in the Union County newspapers each month. If you want to be an investigative reporter, stick with the facts and don't make assumptions.
Dr. Thomas R. Burns said…
The debacle over the smoothie stand is over. One of our smoother talking fellows told me that he talked to Mrs. O'Connor and she decided to allow our sales on Saturday. Several fellows cleaned up an unused area near our booth and we sold smoothies from there with a serving window and all. I am going to suggest that we give a portion of our proceeds to 4H. As far as I am concerned, the matter is closed and hope we all learned some lessons.

I did evidently make two errors of fact in my letter: Last year, we were not the only drink vendor besides the Lions' Club; the 4H people themselves sold pop and water. Second, I identified Mrs. O'Connor as the Fair Manager. That is how she was described to me by a member of the Union County Commissioners. Evidently the de facto nomenclature is different than the de jure position.

I hope to see the Fair expanded with more vendors in the coming years.
Anonymous said…
A clarification -
The "business uptown" sold smoothies at the fairgrounds. They asked first, before the Republicans did. The Union County fair board, in fairness to the vendors since it is a small fair, try to give groups that are selling food and drink items a chance to do well by limiting the number of competitors who sell the same thing. If the Republicans want to sell something at the fair, they need to either ask early or switch to an item that no one else is selling. Did Dr. Burns not know this when he wrote the letter, or was the truth not convenient for his purposes?
Anonymous said…
Dr. Burns, If I were you, I would want the matter dropped quickly too. Janelle O'Connor works hard in her volunteer roles to contribute to her community, county and state. She deserves better than to have her name smeared with half truths. I suggest that you issue a public apology in the same newspapers where you sent your first letter. Veritas omnia vincit. (Truth defeats all things.)
PP said…
"The Union County fair board, in fairness to the vendors since it is a small fair, try to give groups that are selling food and drink items a chance to do well by limiting the number of competitors who sell the same thing."

Hmph. I always thought the person selling the best product or the best value would do the best.

Or at least that's what I was taught to believe.
Anonymous said…
Turns out it the other group that sold smoothies was doing it for a non-profit organization. The idea is to give the organizations a chance to do well while offering a variety of food and drinks to the people. Competition is great when the numbers allow it, but this is a small fair.
Anonymous said…
An apology?!
As Dr. Burns stated, hopefully EVERYONE has learned a few lessons.
Anonymous said…
What is the lesson for everyone other than Dr. Burns? Is it that you go against policy to avoid having your name smeared in the papers? Had his group ran their plans by the fair board last year - like other organizations do - perhaps they would have had a better reception this year. If there are more problems in the future, I hope they utilize their "smooth talker" to work things out instead of resorting to a public whine that is filled with misinformation.
Anonymous said…
Get A Life!!! I must say that I did not find the smoothie issue to be a big deal. I did however find the bumper stickers that were handed out to the young children at the Rebulican booth 2 years ago that said "Dump Daschle" quite offensive. And then we talk about the disrespect in our young people today. Hmmm I wonder where it comes from!!!
Anonymous said…
"I did however find the bumper stickers that were handed out to the young children at the Rebulican booth 2 years ago that said "Dump Daschle" quite offensive."

Really? And how could dumping that idiot be offensive to young children? Or anyone else, for that matter?

My children pasted those "Dump Daschle" posters on their bicycles and were sure that they helped defeat him because of their efforts. Who knows, maybe they were right.

YOU are the one who needs to get a life!!
Anonymous said…
That "idiot," as you refer to Daschle, offered more opportunities to the state of South Dakota than had been available for a long time - if ever. I have had endless people who live in other states comment on how stupid it was for the people of the little state of South Dakota to vote such a powerful man out of office.
You probably think it's a good idea for Thune to speak out against President Bush too. I'm not a Bush supporter, but I know where the power is - and we no longer have it.
george said…
anon 3:12 -

why did SD need to elect thune over daschle?
Anonymous said…
Good question, George. I guess it's what happens when people let others do their thinking for them. May Heaven help us because we're not going to get much help from anywhere else.
feasant said…
The reason it is dry this year is because we got rid of Tom Daschle.

Tommy started representing Liberals. When will you you figure that out SD will have more Conservatives and liberals telling everyone they are conservative because most South Dakotans are common sense Conservatives.
Anonymous said…
Geez, feasant, do you think that is why we are dry? I knew Daschle had power, but I didn't know he had THAT much power.
With those kind of connections, why would you possibly want him out of office - or did you know that then?

What's so common sense about booting a guy out of office who could do so much for our state? I think that's called cutting off your nose to spite your face.
How has it changed things? Are we better off now?

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