In the days of Peoria as a “liberal” city (meaning wide-open to gambling, prostitution and other forms of vice), Mayor Woodruff saw to it that such businesses went largely free of harassment — and that the city government got its share of the profits.

While the town became cleaner and safer after reform, the new council-manager model of politics often neglected those on the city’s lower rungs, who no longer had political sway without the geographically allocated aldermen.