Special Report: How a vicious circle of self-interest sank a California city

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Firefighter Captain Tim Smith, 41, checks a building after its fire alarm sounded in San Bernardino, California September 11, 2012. The city of about 210,000, some 65 miles (104 km) east of Los Angeles, filed for bankruptcy on August 1, joining the Bay Area city of Stockton as a test case for whether financially troubled municipalities can shed bond payments and possibly pension obligations via bankruptcy court. Picture taken September 11, 2012. To match Special Report BERNARDINO/BANKRUPT REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson