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

San Francisco’s Utilities in the 21st Century

Urbanist Article November 1, 2001
supply structure Generally speaking, wholesale power markets are comprised of large central station generating plants, usually remote from population centers, together with high voltage transmission lines needed to get power from those plants closer to where it is used. The retail portion of electric supply includes parts of the system closer to end-users, that are needed to transform the power into usable voltages, distribute it along or under local streets and highways, and connect it to buildings and facilities where customers use it. Apart from these physical components of the system, it’s important to understand something about the institutional and regulatory arrangements that govern California’s electricity supply. These arrangements were well established and relatively static for much of the 20th century. But in the 1990’s, they changed dramatically in California and many other states with the advent of electricity ‘deregulation’ (more accurately called ‘restructuring’, since much of the electric industry...

November 2001 Voter Guide

Voter Guide October 1, 2001
Includes SPUR's analysis of nine city measures on the November 6, 2001 ballot.

Planning for Growth

SPUR Report August 20, 2001
SPUR makes four recommendations to expand the successful transit impact development fee.

Reforming Local Government

Urbanist Article July 1, 2001
Beryl Magilavy offers suggestions on how to update San Francisco governmental policies, and calls for greater transparency and an elected public advocate as potential answers to the problems.

Public/Private Partnerships 101:

Urbanist Article February 1, 2001
Prowler recounts his experience successfully negotiating public and private interests in the redevelopment of Mission Bay, and explains how such efforts could be replicated.

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...

Follow Our Work

Get the latest updates on SPUR projects and events.

Sign up for our email newsletters