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Sneed: Byrne quits Racing Board in frustration

Kathy Byrne, daughter of former Mayor Jane Byrne , quit the Illinois Racing Board. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

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The Byrne beat . . .

She has her mother’s spunk.

But, whoaaa Nellie! Kathy Byrne, the attorney daughter of the late Mayor Jane Byrne, abruptly quit her job during an Illinois Racing Board meeting this week.

Byrne, who owns racehorses, walked out after losing a bid she felt would protect racetrack horses becoming victims to oversight and auction house slaughter after racetracks close.

“I quit because over the past six months I have watched good ideas and people’s rights get absolutely ignored or trampled on for something as universally acceptable as a horse protection amendment,” she told Sneed.

“I thought I was being an advocate,” said Byrne, who was an appointee to the board by former Gov. Patrick Quinn. “I love horses. My mother loved horses; she used to ride the police horses with the policemen when she was mayor. My grandparents loved racing. I used to sneak out to the track with my grandfather.”

“I just wanted to add an amended rule to the horse welfare section when I became concerned two racetracks were closing,” she added. “It involved putting a force of law protecting racehorses from slaughter trucks and instruction on horse adoption rescue. Racehorses placed in the slaughter pit is not a pretty picture”

“Apparently, they didn’t feel they needed the enforcement of a rule of law I suggested and they were going to put it off again,” she said.

“A board member also told me Gov. Bruce Rauner wanted his approval on everything and he was out of town. So I sent him my resignation this morning.”

Hmmm . . .

OPINION

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Click! Cluck!

Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, who is being probed by the feds and subsequently got tubed by the Cook County Dem party, has chutzpah!

  • To wit: Brown, who is still running for re-election, just asked the Cook County Board for some money Wednesday.
  • Translation: Sneed is told Brown, whose Cook County-issued cellphone was recently seized by the FBI during a recent visit to her south side home, submitted a funding request for $37,000 for a one-year contract for a photographer.

“It’s to snap office activities,” said a Brown spokesman, who verified the request, which she said was not unusual. Except this time it got canceled. “Contracts get canceled,” she added.

“It’s to follow her around to events,” said a Sneed source. “Brown is still running for office and could easily use a photographer for publicity shots for local newspapers while on the campaign trail,” said a Sneed source.

Sneed is told the board unanimously voted the request down.

Lee’s way . . .

Cluck luck!

Film director Spike Lee, who is in town to premiere his controversial anti-violence movie “Chi-Raq” at the Chicago Theatre on Sunday, has told his pew pal — activist peace priest Michael Pfleger — he will join him at the South Side’s St. Sabina Catholic church Saturday for their annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway.

The Sheen Scandal . . .

Actor Martin Sheen, the father of actor Charlie Sheen — who dropped a bombshell this week admitting he was HIV-positive and had paid millions to keep his deadly secret quiet for years — is not only supporting his son . . . but praising his bravery for going public.

  • Sheen, a devout Catholic who spent quality time in Chicago last year with former Gov. Quinn, choked up talking about his son at a Florida conference he was headlining Wednesday; told how he had battled with his own addiction to alcohol; and had been encouraging his son to come forth. Sheen said he was unable to reach his son Wednesday afternoon, but left him with a quote from Robert Kennedy: “One heart with courage is a majority.”
  • Then he added: “And I hope that this day is the first day of the rest of Charlie’s life as a free man.”

Wow!

Bieber blab . . .

Singer Justin Bieber, who performed at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont on Wednesday night, tweeted Wednesday afternoon: “Just had fun skating in Chicago. Thanks to the people who allowed me to just have fun and be normal (kind of) for a little #chitown. (Location: Piotrowski Park.)”

Sneedlings . . .

Belated 40th wedding anniversary congrats to Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin and wife, Pat. Today’s birthdays: Jodie Foster, 53; Larry King, 82, and Sarah Hamilten, ageless.

Follow Sneed on Twitter: @Sneedlings