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Reality check on San Bernardino bankruptcy

San Bernardino City Council
San Bernardino City Council
Steven Cuevas / KPCC

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San Bernardino has become the third California city to decide to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection in the span of about three weeks. This city of about 210,000 people is the second largest city in the country to file for bankruptcy; Stockton, California with a population of almost 300.000 is the largest to seek bankruptcy protection.

Inland Empire economist and Vice President of Economics and Politics, Inc, John Husing, says older cities with strong service unions and declining property values and retail sales are also at risk for filing for Chapter 9.

So, why are municipalities deciding to file for bankruptcy and will other struggling cities follow suit? Was the recession to blame or dysfunction politics? How will the move affect wages, pensions and other entities working with the city?


Patrick J. Morris, Mayor, City of San Bernardino

John Husing, Inland Empire economist and Vice President of Economics and Politics, Inc.

Ms. Karol Denniston, Partner, Schiff Hardin law firm; attorney specializing in bankruptcy law; Denniston played a key role in drafting AB 506 that requires municipalities in California to participate in a neutral evaluation process before filing for bankruptcy