VALLEJO, Calif. - The long, slow financial bleed of Vallejo, Calif., reached the low point of bankruptcy Tuesday night, as city leaders admitted they would run out of cash in a couple of months and be forced to shut down the government.

After months of cutting costs and begging unions for concessions, the City Council's vote to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection was accompanied by the sounds of a cheering, whistling, and applauding audience. The combination of declining tax revenue and surging public safety salaries convinced lawmakers they had no other choice. Vallejo is the largest California city to seek protection from creditors and the second-largest municipality in the state after Orange County to do so.

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