San Bernardino, Calif. filed for municipal bankruptcy after disclosing a $46 million shortfall in the city's budget, the third California city to seek court protection from creditors since June 28.

California cities from the Mexican border to San Francisco Bay are confronting rising pension costs as they contend with growing unemployment and declining property- and sales-tax revenue. The costs stem from decisions made when stock markets were soaring and retirement funds were running surpluses.

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