San Bernardino Invokes the B-word: Bankruptcy


Let's remember the days when burgers cost 15 cents and public employee contracts weren't destroying us all.

The City of San Bernardino (population: 210,000), birthplace of fast food, may be the next California city to file for bankruptcy if it can't find a way to deal with its budget deficit. Via The Press Enterprise (Riverside):

A June 26 budget report to the council stated that city spending for the current fiscal year is projected to exceed revenues by more than $45 million if it is unable to find other revenues and/or cut spending.

The report states that city has seen its annual general fund revenues drop by $11.69 million in the past five years due to declines in sales, property and utility taxes while its reserve funds have been depleted. …

Among the measures being proposed are restructuring the police and fire departments to reduce "non-essential services" and closing one or more inefficient fire stations. Other proposals include asking city employees to pay more of their retirement costs, reducing salary increases and offering an early retirement program.

According to reporting by The Sun (San Bernardino), personnel costs make up 75 percent of the city's budget and the money being spent on retirement has risen to 13 percent of the general fund.

San Bernardino's City Council will meet tonight and possibly again tomorrow to try to hammer out a solution. If the city does file for bankruptcy, it will be the third California city to do so in the past 30 days. Both Stockton and Mammoth Lakes have recently filed for bankruptcy. (Harris Kenny, policy analyst for the Reason Foundation, provides more detail about Stockton's and Mammoth Lakes' situations in their policy blog).

More from Reason on bankrupt cities.

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  1. The first McDonalds was in Des Plaines, IL.

    1. The McDonald’s concept was introduced in San Bernardino, California by Dick and Mac McDonald of Manchester, New Hampshire. It was modified and expanded by their business partner, Ray Kroc, of Oak Park, Illinois, who later bought out the business interests of the McDonald brothers in the concept and went on to found McDonald’s Corporation.

      1. I thought the idea came to Ronald Mcdonald as he was trying to figure out a way to give millions and millions of people the flaming shits.

        1. Ronald needed a front to launder all the cash raked in by his cronies, Hamburgler, Hammurderer, and trafficker Grimace (aka the Grapist).

          1. Don’t you know Grimace invented purple drank?

        1. You mean Tulpy-poo is once again talking about something he clearly knows nothing about? SHOCKING.

      2. I’m sorry, but the McDonalds have been declared noncanon.

      3. Actually, Ray Kroc was the salesman for the company that made the milkshake machines used by McDonalds.
        He personally checked out their operation as he couldn’t imagine how a single burger stand could possibly use 8 milkshake machines.
        Impressed with the “fast food” concept developed by the McDonald brothers he bought their production system for national distribution and started to promote the idea as a franchise opportunity.
        The McDonald brothers continued to operate their original restaurants in Southern California for several years.

    2. Pronounced “Des Plaines.” They really speak funny up there.

      1. It’s Desperate Plaines to its close friends.

        1. Strange that Iowans can handle French and Illinoisans cannot.

          1. No real comeback to that. It’s basically true. Must be something in their respective corn crops.

  2. You know, giving us raw dollar figures for deficits and so forth isn’t very helpful, really. A percentage gives a better idea of what’s going on.

    1. Here: 75%

      The amount of taxes “The Rich” should have to pay on everything over $200K in order to keep the city afloat.

    2. For me, this was enough:

      …city spending for the current fiscal year is projected to exceed revenues by more than $45 million… The report states that city has seen its annual general fund revenues drop by $11.69 million in the past five years…

      So if they had remained at their baseline, they would “only” be seeing a $33 million dollar shortfall? That’s some fine accountin’ there, Lou.

    3. And also “personnel costs make up 75 percent of the city’s” makes me say…so?

      It’s a rare organization, government or civilian, who isn’t heavily weighted towards personnel costs. If you need to make cuts 5% in just about any organization, personnel is going to get hit.

    4. $45M/210k = $214 per man, woman, and child more in taxes to balance the budget.

      Trivial compared to $1.56T/310M = $5032 needed to balance the federal budget.

      Get your money out now.

  3. San Ber’dino:

    RIP Zappa. And your family still made a mistake patching things up with Al Gore after what he and his wife did to you during the PRMC hearings.

    1. Beat me to i!

      1. Zappa was an absolute wizard; hell, even Steve Vai learned from his fretwork.

        And, if he’d lived, he might have made a decent politician.

        1. I doubt he would have made a great pol – he was definitely libertarian-ish, at least in the interviews I’ve read.

          Also, I was briefly acquainted with one of his early sound engineers. He related to me that Zappa was as brilliant and demanding as he was reputed to be.

          1. I said decent, not great.

            He definitely gave more than a shit for freedom of speech, that’s for true. Compared to the fucktards we have in office now…

    2. Holy shit, I forgot Adrian Belew played with Zappa.

    1. “This video is currently unavailable”

      Well, piss-burgers.

      1. Well, if it makes you feel better, it’s less cool than the Zappa song. Although I did enjoy getting high a lot to the album it’s on when I was a senior in college.

  4. OT: I see at Investors Business Daily that Obama is drooling over the new UN gun control treaty. Sounds like an HyR story.

    My question: Its not really a binding treaty until the Senate ratifies, right? Right?

    1. Right, but it takes two-thirds of the Senate.

    2. is it trying to lose the rust belt?

      1. is it trying to lose the rust belt?

        Just the clingers.

    3. Sorry, RC, but the Enabling Act that made possible recess appointments when the Senate was in session and allows the Supreme Leader to ignore laws when they can benefit him politically also allow him to implement treaties without Senate ratification.

      Since we’re on a Zappa tear here, Obama has become the Central Scruntinzer, enforcing all the laws that haven’t been passed yet.

      1. …allow him to implement treaties without Senate ratification.

        You sure about that?

        1. You can’t possibly be Supreme Lawgiver if 100 gibbering gasbags are constantly underfoot.

          1. The gibbering gasbags are only 6HD, tho. Any decent high level Lawgiver should be able to take out 100 of them.

            1. Yeah, but he has to roll at least an 18 on his D20 before he can strike.

    4. Yep, two thirds to ratify. Much like the Kyoto treaty, this too SHALL NOT PASS.

      I am delightfully prepared for the inevitable “Gee, I wish we were more like China so we could get stuff done” comments from the usual shitheads in regards to this treaty.

      1. Oh, sure, back when Congress had actual power. But at present, their role is to pass the laws that the president wants. If they fail to do so, the president has no choice but to do what must be done, whether Congress agrees or not.

        But seriously, if he tries that, I’m pretty sure that will be the final straw that will lead to a real civil war. Americans have never been more divided, and tensions are incredibly high right now. Certainly (especially in light of sticking himself right in the middle of Fast and Furious) extremists on the right can easily paint him as conspiring with foreign powers in order to disarm Americans as a precursor to a foreign-backed dictatorship. Even a non-paranoid person might perceive “a long train of abuses and usurpations,” which could plausibly be described as “pursuing invariably the same Object[, evincing] a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism”.

    5. As I understand it, it would not be binding, but the U.S. government could “voluntarily” uphold it.

      Ordinarily, I’d say there’s no chance of getting the implementation through Congress but I’m no longer willing to bet on that or that Obama will even bother with Congress. If he ignored Congress who would stop him?

      1. As I understand it, it would not be binding, but the U.S. government could “voluntarily” uphold it.

        Until the first lawsuit. With the way the Nazg?l has been ruling on gun cases, I don’t think it would stand.

        1. Until the first lawsuit.

          Right. Then they get told “No,” so they change the way they count their money to do it again, until the next lawsuit, ad nauseum.

        2. Maybe. But I wouldn’t want to bet anything more than a wooden nickel on it. If the wind changes direction they may decide there is a “compelling state interest” or some kind of vital stare decisis that can’t be upset.

      2. Well at least the Nazgul would have a hilarious take on it.

        1. Of course. I look forward to another sterling opinion from CJ Roberts on the topic of how treaties that are not approved by the Senate are nonetheless a valid source of penaltaxes.

    6. My question: Its not really a binding treaty until the Senate ratifies, right? Right?

      All depends on what you mean by “binding.”

      As it is, the executive branch can pretty much do whatever the fuck it wants. I offer for example: Eric Holder.

      1. l’?tat, c’est moi.

    7. Here’s how this can work, legally. The federal government imposes a gun tax on each citizen. Not a tax on guns; the government simply takes guns from you. It’s a tax and a penalty and advances the General Welfare.

      1. Also, since the taxed guns are transported to DC it’s obviously legit under the commerce clause.

        1. That’s gratuitous and unnecessary.

          1. Why send them to DC when you can send them straight to Mexico?

            1. Say, maybe Fast and Furious is part of a plan to relocate DC to Cancun?

              1. Why do you hate Mexico?

            2. Cutting out the middleman!

      2. It also keeps the gun industry happy because you have to buy them and then deliver them to the gov’t. At first, the Gun Economy Planning Board will make sure the supply is short so that guns have to come out of private collections first.

    8. To be sure, the treaty power doesn’t trump the Constitution. At least, it shouldn’t until the Court rules that it does.

      1. Wrong.
        “In the United States, a different principle is established. Our constitution declares a treaty to be the law of the land. It is, consequently, to be regarded in courts of justice as equivalent to an act of the legislature, whenever it operates of itself, without the aid of any legislative provision.”

        Thanks, Justice John Marshall.

        1. No. The legislative power is subordinate to the Constitution, as is the treaty power and any other government power.

          If we signed and ratified a treaty with the Nazis saying that all Jews have to be rounded up and executed without due process, that would be unconstitutional and legally invalid. Well, unless so doing were a tax. Then anything goes.

          1. You sure about that?
            Article 6 appears to give equal power to treaties as the constitution, judging treaties as “the supreme law of the land.”

            I don’t believe you can judge a treaty unconstitutional in court, hence the nigh complete lack of ratified treaties since the 1900’s.

            1. I’m sure. There have been arguments to the contrary, but they’re nonsense.

              “Supreme law of the land” just refers to federal supremacy over states, not supreme over the Constitution. The Constitution is the foundation of all federal law, period.

            2. Article 6 appears to give equal power to treaties as the constitution, judging treaties as “the supreme law of the land.”

              Article 6:

              This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

              This establishes that federal law, whether the Constitution, treaties, or laws, are supreme over state laws.

              And yes, a treaty is still subordinate to the Constitution, so that a treaty obligation that ran counter to the Constitution would be null and void.

        2. Which is to say that it doesn’t trump the Constitution. It operates as a legislative act.

          1. This error pops up fairly frequently. A lot of those erroneous e-mails that make the circuit about us losing all of our liberties through some UN treaty rely on it.

            In theory, the government has no power whatsoever except for those powers set out or implied by the Constitution. No act, law, regulation, order, or treaty can exceed the specific and enumerated powers of the document.

            Which is why, of course, the courts have mangled the meaning of the Constitution so much that virtually anything goes now.

        3. Our Constitution also holds that acts of Congress are the law of the land.

          All that passage is saying is that the legislature does not have to pass a separate law to activate a treaty, but that the ratification of the treaty itself can be considered equivalent to passing it as a law. But acts of legislature (including ratified treaties) are still subordinate to the Constitution.

    9. He’ll just issue an executive order that does essentially the same thing as the treaty.

      1. I hope he’s not actually dumb enough to pass a draconian gun control measure by executive order, especially if Congress already rejected the same measure. But if he is, it will amuse me to no end to watch his head go bouncing down the steps of the Capitol building once the resulting popular revolt and/or military coup finishes with him.

  5. OT: U.S. Olympic uniforms. I can’t figure out if it’s the poses of the models or the actual uniforms themselves that creep me the fuck out. It’s even complete with the blank, faraway stares reminiscent of totalitarian regimes.

    1. Well, I didn’t need another reason to despise the Olympics, but thanks anyways. These fuckwits look retarded.

      1. I still think the winter games are cool. They’re much more loosey-goosey, especially since Jamaican bobsled and snowboarding came along.

        1. At least the winter olympics are held annually. With the summer games it’s all a bunch of bullshit over who gets to piss away taxpayer money every four years to see a bunch of sports nobody gives a fuck about.

          1. At least the winter olympics are held annually.

            They are?

          2. The winter Olympics are every 4 years. Next one is 2014. The X Games are every year.

            1. And there’s a goodly amount of bullshit and tax waste over hosting the winter games. Just not as much as the summer games.

            2. Wow, what was I thinking about then?

              Is it something like the winter X games that are annual?

              Oh well; if anyone cared, people would be building olympic stadiums (or whatever they’re called) in hopes of being selected rather than the other way around.

        2. Not a fan of the Olympics either. Glad we didn’t get picked to host the thing.

          1. Know what would be awesome? If San Bernardino put in a bid.

    2. Nice hats.


      1. I think Ralph Lauren thought he was designing for the French team.

        1. “Every man has two countries, his own and France.” Thomas Jefferson (attributed)

          1. “Je n’ai qu’une seule” – Sad French guy.

        2. It’s a weird blend of a basically fascist look, with the Che beret.

          Actually, I think it’s quite suited for the Olympics.

    3. Holy shit, that’s creepy.

      1. I wonder if they’ll be goosestepping in the Parade of Nations? My personal favorite style of goosesteps the Norks’.

      2. Yachting For Nazi Jesus

    4. French beret and yacht club attire?!

      It’s in London. We should march with tri-corner hats, muskets, and flying the Gadsden.

      1. Down the British! Up the Rebels!

        Even POWs had the right to make moonshine.

        1. I can’t watch the post but please tell me it’s the Great Escape moonshine scene.

        2. OK, I can, and I thank you.

    5. Who the fuck designed those? They do realize theses are the SUMMER olympics right?

  6. Kinda scary when a whole city is about to go bankrupt. WOw.

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