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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Prioritizing the “Public” in Public Benefits for Central SoMa

April 20, 2016 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
What matters most as San Francisco works to develop a neighborhood plan for the Central SoMa district? According to an analysis by city staff, changing zoning rules to allow taller buildings in the area — when combined with existing fees and requirements — could generate approximately $2 billion for public benefits. How should those dollars be dedicated? SPUR weighs in.

Time to Plan Big for the Future of Downtown Oakland

April 12, 2016 By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
Public and private investment have sparked a renaissance in downtown Oakland, but as the attention and interest grow, downtown finds itself in a bind. The current revival hasn’t been strong enough to attract new construction, and institutions, residents and businesses are being displaced. The Downtown Oakland Specific Plan, now in process, provides an opportunity to address displacement and think big about the future of downtown.

A Boom, and a Turning Point, for Downtown San Jose

April 6, 2016 By Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director, and Danielle Glaser, San Jose Policy Intern
Thirty years ago, few people could have imagined that downtown San Jose would be taking off like it is today. In the last year, 659 new units of housing came on the market and more than 1,900 are under construction. This is what a generation of city leaders has been working toward, and the excitement is both palpable and well deserved. But it’s also fragile.

Why a Sales Tax Is San Jose’s Best Chance to Restore Services

April 6, 2016 By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
The San Jose City Council has placed a quarter-cent sales tax on the June ballot. The increase would yield a projected $40 million in annual revenue to support police, fire and emergency response, parks and other basic services. Measure B is one of best ways the city can restore needed services that were cut during the recession. SPUR urges voters to support it.
Santa Teresa Park in Santa Clara County.  Photo by Flickr user Don Debold.

Support Santa Clara County Parks: Vote Yes on Measure A

April 5, 2016 By Eli Zigas, Food & Agriculture Policy Director
This June, voters in Santa Clara County will be asked to modestly increase the portion of the county general fund dedicated to parks. The ballot measure would update the Park Charter Fund. Because a strong parks system is critical to a strong greenbelt and to maintaining a high quality of life in and around San Jose , SPUR recommends a “Yes” vote on Measure A.

Shaping Our Transit Destiny: Four Questions for the South Bay

March 29, 2016 By Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director
Planning for the transit service we want involves many choices and tradeoffs, with far-reaching implications for our quality of life. Being clear about what we are choosing between helps us make better decisions. The new Transit Choices Report from the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) clearly lays out the next big transit choices for the South Bay.

2016 Good Government Awards: How Greg Kato Raised $500 Million in Business Tax Revenues

March 29, 2016
The 2016 Good Government Awards, held on March 21, recognized outstanding performances by managers working for the City and County of San Francisco. The ceremony honored Greg Kato for rolling out the gross receipts tax, a restructuring of the business tax that increased the number of taxpayers from 7,000 to over 15,000 and raised revenues to $500 million per year.

2016 Good Government Awards: How Robert Smuts Transformed SF's Emergency Communications

March 29, 2016
The 2016 Good Government Awards, held on March 21, recognized outstanding performances by managers working for the City and County of San Francisco. The ceremony honored Roberts Smuts for turning around the Department of Emergency Management and dramatically increasing the chances that a 9-1-1 call will be answered within 10 seconds or less.

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