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Why San Bernardino, and two other California cities, are going bankrupt (+video)

San Bernardino, Stockton, and Mammoth Lakes have all chosen the path of bankruptcy in the last two weeks. What's going on?

San Bernadino declares bankruptcy
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As recently as last month, no city in California had opted for bankruptcy since 2008, and no U.S. city of more than 200,000 people had ever chosen bankruptcy.

The past two weeks have changed all that, in a big way, as the fiscal struggles faced by so many American cities became too much for some to bear.

San Bernardino became the third California city in that small span to choose Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection with a City Council vote on Tuesday night.

The Southern California city of about 210,000 people will also become the second largest in the nation ever to file for bankruptcy. Stockton, the Northern California city of nearly 300,000, became the biggest when it filed for Chapter 9 on June 28. The much smaller city of Mammoth Lakes voted for bankruptcy July 3.

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San Bernardino's City Council directed the city attorney to make the move during a meeting where administrators explained the dire fiscal circumstances and urged them to choose the bankruptcy option.

"We have an immediate cash flow issue," Interim City Manager Andrea Miller told Mayor Patrick Morris and the seven-member City Council, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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