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

    Back in the Black

    San Jose has the highest median household income of any major city in the country, but years of budget cuts and staffing reductions have left the city in a precarious position. SPUR and Working Partnerships USA explore how San Jose can bolster its resources and deliver high-quality public services.

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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 contracting 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

Democracy and Planning

Urbanist Article July 1, 2003
Everyone thinks the planning process should be democratic. To act in the name of greater democracy trumps almost all other claims in the public discourse. But it’s not at all obvious what this idea really means.

Crisis and Opportunity in the City Budget

Urbanist Article May 1, 2003
Due to San Francisco's $347 million budget shortfall in 2003-04 fiscal year, cuts and changes in operations are necessary. SPUR offers both short and long-term suggestions for how to meet the budget.

An Open Letter to the Left

Urbanist Article February 1, 2003
Gabriel Metcalf argues that the liberal elected need to stop vilifying business, and instead foster a healthy economic environment in San Francisco to realistically accomplish their social improvements.

An Open Letter to the Business Community

Urbanist Article February 1, 2003
Jim Chappell lays out the interdependent relationship between business and government, and explains why it is in the business community's interest to support taxes and better public transit.

Only in San Francisco?

Urbanist Article November 1, 2002
Analyzing various surveys, San Francisco historian Rich DeLeon proves that San Francisco justly earns its reputation as the most liberal city in the US.

Timing Is Everything

Urbanist Article November 1, 2002
Paul Lewis explains why lower turnout, "local only" elections result in wins for liberal candidates, and questions then, if there is a better solution to December date run-offs.

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