Vallejo, Stockton and Detroit are this country's poster children to illustrate the consequences of governments engaging in profligate spending and irresponsible promises to employees.
Although each city took a slightly different road to bankruptcy, the things they had in common were that their labor contracts -- by far the biggest expense for any city -- were based on overly rosy forecasts of future financial conditions and had generally ignored the long-term implications of the deals.
There has been much discussion of this on these pages. We reminded elected leaders in local cities and government agencies early and often that making long-term financial deals that are not fully funded and that are based on unreasonable economic assumptions is reckless and irresponsible.
Many elected government leaders throughout the East Bay began to understand that their revenues were, indeed, finite and that increasing the dollars devoted to one portion of the pie would require an equal decrease in another portion.
To their credit, so did many public employee unions. The more reasonable ones begrudgingly came to understand that the tough economic times of the last five years have laid bare the sins of the past.
In Contra Costa County, for example, employees in Public Employees Union Local One made some serious concessions during negotiations to help avoid layoffs and service cuts.
But not every public-employee union group has seen the light. As we famously saw last fall in the BART negotiations that resulted in two strikes, some public-employee unions seem intent on flexing their muscle at all costs.
Such seems the case currently in Hayward. City leaders understand they have a big-time problem with both long-term unfunded debt and deteriorating infrastructure.
They have tried to communicate those issues to the city's 11 represented employee groups. Seven of them have negotiated deals with concessions amounting to 17 percent or more. Two groups will negotiate this year.
But two other units, both represented by the SEIU, have refused to make further concessions and, in fact, seek raises, despite being paid as well or better than surrounding communities.
They also have conducted a rather nasty and hyperbolic public relations campaign, while city leaders have remained largely silent.
On Friday a "fact-finding" report was released from what is a labor-friendly process. Not surprisingly, it says the city currently has the money to pay for raises. Of course, it virtually ignores long-term debt and infrastructure costs. Money to handle those big-ticket items, apparently, will somehow magically appear.
On Tuesday, the council is scheduled to comment on the report and decide whether it should impose a one-year contract. While regrettable, it is a courageous move that should be made to help Hayward remain solvent.