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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Strengthening the Budget of the Bay Area’s Largest City

December 18, 2015 By Sarah Jo Szambelan and Egon Terplan
Over the last decade and a half, San Jose’s budget has been on an economic rollercoaster. Two recessions, budget deficits, lay-offs and service cuts have all plagued the largest city in the Bay Area. SPUR has been exploring some of the factors that have affected San Jose’s fiscal position, as well as analyzing it's performance compared to other cities in Santa Clara County and California.

Un-doing the Grand Bargain That Created the Housing Trust Fund

December 16, 2015 By Sarah Karlinsky, Senior Policy Advisor
In 2012, the voters of San Francisco passed Proposition C, a consensus measure that created a $1.2 billion set-aside for affordable housing while also reducing the on-site inclusionary housing requirement, which obliges developers of market-rate housing to build some affordable units on the same site. Now some city leaders are revisiting whether the measure asked enough from developers.

Celebrating 2015: A Special Message From SPUR

December 9, 2015
2015 has been a significant year for SPUR. We officially became a regional organization, with offices in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland. By helping to coordinate policy and planning work across the region, we can make much greater progress on our goals. But we can't do it without your help. We hope you'll consider making a contribution to SPUR at this year end.

What It Will Take to Connect BART to the South Bay

December 3, 2015 By Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
The BART Silicon Valley extension is the largest transportation investment the South Bay will make for decades. Phase I of the extension is under construction and scheduled to start service in the fall of 2017. Now the Santa Clara VTA and many others must answer the question: Where will the money for Phase II come from?

​2015 Silver SPUR Awards: How Jim Lazarus Puts the Public's Needs First

November 23, 2015
2015 Silver SPUR honoree Jim Lazarus is the senior vice president of public policy for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. A former deputy mayor and deputy city attorney for the City and County of San Francisco, he has played a key role in good government reforms in San Francisco.

2015 Silver SPUR Awards: How Carol Galante Changes Lives by Housing People

November 23, 2015
Silver SPUR honoree Carol J. Galante ran BRIDGE Housing for 13 years, leading one of California’s largest affordable housing development organizations. Galante served President Obama from 2009-2014 as the Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She is now a distinguished professor in Affordable Housing and Urban Policy at UC Berkeley.

2015 Silver SPUR Awards: How Harlan Kelly Jr. Builds a More Sustainable City

November 23, 2015
Silver SPUR honoree Harlan Kelly Jr.,the general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, directs a 2,300-person team to revitalize the city’s water and sewer infrastructure. His leadership in San Francisco government has spanned many departments, where he played a managerial and key civic engineering roles as San Francisco’s City Engineer.

2015 Silver SPUR Awards: How Leah Shahum Makes the Streets Safe for Everyone

November 23, 2015
2015 Silver SPUR honoree Leah Shahum led the 10,000-member San Francisco Bicycle Coalition for 12 years, building it into one of the strongest advocacy groups in the city, significantly growing the citywide Bike Network and the number of people riding in the city. She is now the director of the Vision Zero Network, advocating nationally for the elimination of all traffic deaths and severe injuries.

A Great Election for Housing

November 5, 2015
The November 2 election was an encouraging sign that San Franciscans are aligned behind one of the key solutions to our affordability crisis: build more housing.

Is Berkeley's Soda Tax Working?

November 3, 2015 By Susannah Parsons
Last November, the City of Berkeley made the news — and history — by becoming the first U.S city to pass a sugar-sweetened beverage tax. Measure D was a significant victory for supporters, winning with 76 percent of the vote despite huge opposition from the American Beverage Association. Now that the tax has been in place since March, researchers are beginning to assess its impact.

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