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L.A. Now Live: Discuss the San Bernardino bankruptcy

July 11, 2012 |  6:00 am

The Times' Inland Empire Bureau Chief Phil Willon will join City Editor Shelby Grad for a discussion about the San Bernardino City Council's decision to file for municipal bankruptcy.

The live chat is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The council took the extreme step in a 4-2 vote Tuesday night, saying the city's cash-flow problems were so dire it would not be able to make payroll through the summer without bankruptcy protection.

The city faces a $46-million deficit.

Mayor Patrick Morris called the decision a "stain" on the city. But he said the only other option was "draconian cuts" to all city services, including the police and fire departments.

"It means the bills will be paid," said a dejected Morris, who is not a voting member of the council.

The city's fiscal crisis has been years in the making, compounded by the nation's crushing recession and exacerbated by escalating pension costs, lucrative labor agreements, Sacramento's raid on redevelopment funds and a city reserve that is tapped out, officials said.

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