Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council have said repeatedly that, come what may, declaring Los Angeles bankrupt is not an option.
But with city leaders avoiding the tough decisions to mend L.A.'s financial health - opting instead for easy fixes that allow the city to limp along for another month or two - some are saying bankruptcy is just the ticket.
For one thing, it could lead to speedier reform of the pension system, which many economists and politicians say is necessary if the city is to prosper long term.
"I've suggested it since 2005," former Mayor Richard Riordan said. "The city, the way it is going, is unsustainable. If they don't do it this year, they are going to have to do it in the next four or five years."