We knew CalPERS was going to play hardball in San Bernardino's bankruptcy case. Still, we're taken aback by the retirement system's unbridled aggressiveness and take-no-prisoners attack.

The California Public Employees Retirement System filed documents in U.S. Bankruptcy Court that denounced the city's bankruptcy protection bid as a "sham" and accused the city of "criminal behavior" in its withholding of scheduled payments to the pension administrator.

That's pretty strong stuff. Most likely it amounts to lawyerly maneuvering, but it might miss the mark on truth.

Now, if CalPERS had said San Bernardino's civic budgeting over the past two decades was a sham, we'd have to nod in agreement. Spending more than the city took in as revenues in 13 of the past 17 years might be characterized as almost criminal negligence - whistling in the dark as the city's fiscal circumstances steadily headed for the bottom.

But at this point, the city's effort to get bankruptcy protection from its creditors is no sham - it's a necessity. The city's cash-flow situation is right there on its website for all to see.