While tales of public mischief out of Chicago and the Statehouse grab the biggest headlines, observers say smaller towns across Illinois also often fall victim to a state political culture that values power and money more than the public interest.In addition to corruption scandals in East St. Louis, Pekin, and Cairo, the article reveals the possibility of lawlessness in Peoria:
"There are pockets around the state with a reputation for being clean, and it isn't like there aren't some good politicians all across the state. But corruption is just part of our culture ... one that sets a low standard," said Kent Redfield, interim director of the Center for Legislative Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
"Our expectations are pretty low. What we learn about politics growing up is it's a business, and it's a dirty business," he said.
Payoffs continued for years in Peoria, where city officials collected weekly to turn a blind eye toward prostitution and gambling operations that drew customers from across central Illinois, said Bernie Drake, interim director of the Peoria County Historical Society.But I'll bet Peoria was even classier than Vegas.
"In the '20s, '30s and '40s, we were a Las Vegas. It just wasn't legal like Las Vegas," Drake said.