In Vallejo, mixed picture of life after bankruptcy

With two California cities recently filing for bankruptcy, a third about to and others in trouble, leaders of financially embattled towns are looking to Vallejo for an example of what good — and bad — can come from a Chapter 9 filing.

This working-class port town in the San Francisco Bay Area emerged from the process with a newfound commitment to innovation and community involvement. But the financial fixes envisioned when Vallejo filed in 2008 haven't all materialized, and the city continues to operate in the red.

Councilmembers wish they had used the shelter of bankruptcy to gain more concessions from their public employee unions.

Residents, meanwhile, have stepped in to fill the many gaps. Volunteers now patrol for code violations, clean up graffiti and monitor the city's surveillance cameras.