Good Government

Our goal: Support local government.

SPUR's good government agenda:

• Put safety first.
• Invest in infrastructure.
• Support a strong civil service system.
• Get better at contracting.
• Experiment with labor-management partnerships and demonstration projects.
• Deliver services at the neighborhood scale.
• Make public data easier to access.

Read more from SPUR’s Agenda for Change
  • The SPUR Voter Guide

    The SPUR Voter Guide is the best resource for San Franciscans who want to understand the issues they will face in the voting booth. We focus on outcomes, not ideology, providing objective analysis on which measures will deliver real solutions.

    Read More
  • Good Government Awards

    The Good Government Awards honor outstanding managers working for the City and County of San Francisco, recognizing them for their leadership, vision and ability to make a difference in city government and in the community.

    Read More
  • SPUR Report

    A Big Fix for Capital Planning

    San Francisco’s aging public facilities harm the economy, limit they city’s ability to function and endanger public safety. SPUR proposes policy reforms for a more effective capital planning and maintenance process.

    Read More
  • SPUR Report

    Reforming Civil Service

    San Francisco’s employees and managers work within a system that often fails to take full advantage of their abilities or reward their contributions. The city can strengthen delivery of public services by restructuring practices for hiring, promotion, motivation and training.

    Read More
  • SPUR Report

    Fixing San Francisco’s Contracting Process

    San Francisco's ontracting process is often time-consuming, inefficient and unpredictable. How can the city minimize waste and inefficiency while maintaining strong safeguards against favoritism and corruption?

    Read More
  • SPUR Report

    Setting Aside Differences

    Ballot measures that dedicate city revenues to specific purposes have become increasingly common in San Francisco. But these “set asides” can damage the democratic system and lock in choices long after they continue to make sense. Here's how to improve these measures by evaluating them before they become law.

    Read More
  • The Urbanist

    Taxing Waste, Not Work

    Environmental tax reform decreases taxes on labor or income while increasing taxes on waste and pollution. For San Francisco, a shift away from the payroll tax toward taxes on energy, solid waste or transportation could increase economic activity while reducing environmental harm.

    Read More
  • Find more of SPUR's good government research

    Read More

Updates and Events

Small Steps Toward a Better City

Urbanist Article January 1, 2001
Gabriel Metcalf interviews City Controller Ed Harrington. Harrington, who served from 1990-2008, describes his role as not just financially managing city departments, but assisting them with staff and resources to be more effective.

November 2000 Voter Guide

Voter Guide November 7, 2000
Includes SPUR's analysis of 18city measures on the November 7, 2000 ballot.

It Takes a City

Urbanist Article September 1, 2000
Arlene Ackerman and Kathleen Turner field questions on educational reform, the role of parents in education, and the position the city must take to ensure the success of the system.

March 2000 Voter Guide

Voter Guide February 1, 2000
Includes SPUR's analysis of seven city measures on the March 7, 2000 ballot.

District Elections in San Francisco

Urbanist Article February 1, 2000
The change of electing the Board of Supervisors by district will have a dramatic effect on both who is elected and what they accomplish. SPUR explores voting behavior and San Francisco demographics to gauge the impact.

Evaluating the New City Charter

Urbanist Article October 1, 1999
James Haas looks at the Charter's legal viability and its level of success in achieving its goals. Haas suggests that controls should be placed to avoid excessively confusing amendments.

Follow Our Work

Get the latest updates on SPUR projects and events.

Sign up for our email newsletters