On November 8, Oakland residents will vote on a proposal for city government charter reforms. Measure X will create term limits for City Council members, clarify campaigning protocols for current elected officials and strengthen the role of the city auditor to increase accountability across the city. The measure was authored by Councilmember Dan Kalb, who has said that Measure X is a direct outcome of SPUR’s report Making Government Work, which proposed 10 ways to improve Oakland city governance. While Measure X does not include all of SPUR’s recommendations, it moves the needle on improving governance in the City of Oakland.
Last month Governor Newsom signed AB 2594, a bill sponsored by Assemblymember Phil Ting that reforms the way California agencies handle bridge and road tolls. Inspired by SPUR’s report Bridging the Gap, AB 2594 helps modernize the toll system and reduce the harms caused by fines and fees for missing a toll payment. AB 2594 is an important first step in reforming inequitable tolling practices across California, but there’s still more work to be done.
One of the critical steps in addressing California’s housing crisis is making sure that cities build enough housing to meet the needs of everyone in the community. That’s why the state requires every California city to update the housing element section of its general plan every eight years. The latest cycle is underway, and SPUR has been tracking the housing elements in San Francisco, San José and Oakland. Here’s how much housing the cities will be expected to build in the next cycle and three ideas for how they can get there.
Over the past two weeks, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law seven pro-housing production bills sponsored and supported by SPUR and allied members of our statewide California Home Building Alliance. This capped a very successful year of housing advocacy in the Capitol. We’re thrilled with the results of this legislative session and grateful to our partners in this work.
Governments, advocates and businesses already face great challenges in transforming California’s car-oriented transportation system to one that is affordable, equitable and consistent with the state’s climate goals. But it’s even harder when state laws consistently undermine our best efforts. Governor Newsom recently signed three SPUR-sponsored transportation bills that will help affordable and sustainable transportation options succeed by stopping policies and practices that have been undermining their success for decades.
This year, SPUR is celebrating staff members — a.k.a. “Spurritos”— who have served the organization for 10 years or more. This month we profile Sarah Karlinsky, SPUR’s senior advisor, who has held five different roles since she first started at the organization in 2005.
This year, SPUR celebrates the 10-year anniversary of its work in San José. To commemorate all we’ve learned and accomplished together, we asked a dozen SPUR and South Bay leaders to reflect on what San José was like at the time, what SPUR brought to the city and how both have evolved over the past decade.
During the last two academic years, SPUR has been fortunate to host a talented group of policy researchers through partnerships with graduate school fellowship and practicum programs. Their research has contributed to SPUR’s work, including policy changes and proposed legislation at the regional and state levels. Learn more about the work they’ve done with SPUR and what they’ve gone on to do after collaborating with us.
After a 50-year hiatus, the White House is hosting its second-ever Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. In an effort to frame the agenda for the conference, a coalition of organizations has released a report proposing 30 federal policy recommendations. Three of SPUR’s top priorities at the state and local level are among those recommendations, and they are now firmly in the national spotlight as the conference approaches.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed by President Biden last month, is the largest ever federal investment in fighting climate change. While we as Americans should be taking a victory lap for this momentous achievement, we should not for one moment think that the investments in the IRA are alone sufficient to tackle climate change. To win this generation’s greatest fight, we will need major continued investments at the federal, state and local levels. That’s why SPUR is supporting Prop. 30, a measure which would make historic investments in fighting climate change — investments that pay off in the form of fuel cost savings and avoided premature deaths, asthma attacks and cleaner air.