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San Bernardino bankruptcy: Residents shocked, uncertain about future

July 11, 2012 |  4:52 am

More photos: California cities in bankruptcy

Residents expressed shock and anxiety after the San Bernardino City Council unexpectedly voted to file for bankruptcy.

About a dozen residents at the council meeting Tuesday night urged officials to protect services amid the financial crisis.

Kathy Mallon, 57, who has lived in San Bernardino for a decade, blasted the city’s elected leaders for allowing the financial crisis to grow unabated, and wasting millions of tax dollars on transit projects and other none essential services.

PHOTOS: California cities in bankruptcy

Still, she urged them to do everything possible to avoid filing for bankruptcy.

“This is lose, lose, lose all the way around. Residents will suffer. Businesses will suffer and city staff will suffer,” Mallon, a member of the city’s senior affairs council, said before the vote. “We elected you to handle this, and I do not want to see the outcome decided by a bankruptcy judge who has nothing at stake.”

The vote came shortly after the interim city manager recommended seeking bankruptcy protection, saying the city may not be able to make payroll over the next three months. "We have an immediate cash flow issue," Andrea Miller told the mayor and seven-member council.

The dire fiscal situation remains even after the city negotiated $10 million in concessions from employees and slashed the workforce by 20% over the last four years.

If San Bernardino declares bankruptcy, it would be the third California city to do so in recent weeks, joining Stockton and Mammoth Lakes. The council called special back-to-back budget meetings Tuesday and Wednesday, which are expected to attract a packed house at City Hall.


Mammoth Lakes files for bankruptcy

Southland cities struggle to avoid bankruptcy

Stockton is largest U.S. city to seek bankruptcy protection

-- Phil Willon in San Bernardino

Photo: San Bernardino would be the third California city to seek bankruptcy protection in recent weeks. Credit: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times