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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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?

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Find more of SPUR's good government research

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Updates and Events

Some Thoughts on District Elections and the New Progressive Majority

Urbanist Article January 1, 2001
In the city’s first round of district elections since 1979, San Francisco voters elected what one victor boasted was a “progressive super-majority” to the Board of Supervisors and decisively thumped Mayor Willie Brown’s anointed candidates in one district after another, wrecking his vaunted machine. As establishment leaders lament their defeat and business elites despair, there is joy among progressives in our left coast city this holiday season—a joy I share to some degree. As advocates of district elections had promised, not even an avalanche of soft money could save targeted incumbents from the wrath of long-neglected neighborhood communities. The winners who will replace them on January 8 all strike me as smart, talented, and public-spirited—not the small-minded “crazies” Mayor Brown worried about in his last state of the city address. The victory was great and sweeping, and the city’s left has earned the right to celebrate. At the risk of...

The Special Assistant Problem

Urbanist Article January 1, 2001
Beryl Magilavy calls for greater transparency and more in-depth scrutiny of certain civil service positions. By demanding more accountability from these positions Beryl argues that the city will save money.

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.

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