SAN FRANCISCO - Vallejo, Calif., which filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection last week, will face a judge for the first time today in a pair of procedural hearings.

Vallejo's bankruptcy filing marks the biggest municipal bankruptcy since Orange County in 1994. The city is trying to escape labor contracts it says it cannot pay in the face of a slowing housing market and weak tax collections. It also has about $163 million of outstanding debt. Creditors include bondholders and credit enhancers Union Bank of California and MBIA Insurance Corp.

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