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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Building the Future Together: Our Goals for SPUR’s Work in Oakland

February 24, 2021 By Ronak Davé Okoye, Oakland Director
Incoming Oakland Director Ronak Davé Okoye shares her goals and vision for SPUR’s work in Oakland. Through a participatory process that allows a cross-section of people to imagine and develop ideas together, we can get to better outcomes for Oaklanders: more housing across income and type, authentic relationships between residents and the public and private sectors, responsive systems, shared prosperity.
New research shows that programs like SPUR's Double Up Food Bucks, advertised here at Arteaga's Food Center in Gilroy, provide a positive economic boost to local economies.

Expanding Healthy Food Incentives Increases Community Wealth

February 21, 2021 Eli Zigas, Food and Agriculture Policy Director
For years now, research has shown that healthy food incentive programs, like SPUR’s Double Up Food Bucks, improve health. What new research shows, in a more comprehensive way than ever before, is that healthy food incentive programs also improve community wealth.

Alameda County Joins a Growing Movement to Buy Better Food

February 18, 2021 Katie Ettman, Food and Agriculture Senior Policy Associate
Alameda County correctional facilities spend more than $20 million annually on food, but until recently there was no way to evaluate whether these purchases lived up to county’s values. This changed last month, when the Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved the Good Food Purchasing policy to see how well their food purchasing supports a healthy, local, sustainable and fair food supply chain.

How Do Fines and Fees Hurt Californians — and What Can the State Do About It?

February 9, 2021 By Katie Seitelman, Public Programming Assistant
Fines and fees are an often-overlooked aspect of California’s criminal legal system. A recent SPUR forum took a close look at the role these charges play in a starkly inequitable, illogical and unjust system. Our panelists discussed the harms caused by fines and fees, why they cost too much, who they impact most and how to end biased enforcement.

Where Do We Go From Here? SPUR Sets New Vision and Long-Range Goals

January 26, 2021 By Alicia John-Baptiste, President and CEO
With vaccines rolling out and stable national leadership in place, we can trust that we will, eventually, reemerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. The question now is: Reemerge into what? To return to “normal” would be to reembrace a way of living that was neither sustainable nor equitable. To meet this moment, SPUR has articulated a bold vision statement and evolved our organizational mission.

Five Ideas for Rebuilding Retail in the Post-Pandemic City

January 25, 2021 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
The growth of online shopping has thrown the fate of retail stores into question — a challenge exacerbated by COVID-19 lockdowns. As we plan for a future when gathering and in-person activities are safe again, it's time to look beyond a return to the status quo and rethink retail as a tool for social and economic transformation. SPUR proposes five experimental ideas to explore.

COVID-19 and San Francisco’s Budget Deficit Lead to Lingering Questions about Spending of Soda Tax Revenue

January 22, 2021 By Katie Ettman, Food and Agriculture Senior Policy Associate
Every year a committee of experts recommends how San Francisco's soda tax revenue should be spent. Unlike years past, the board and mayor did not adopt the majority of the recommendations most likely due to the financial toll COVID-19 has taken on cities. SPUR recommends that next year the mayor and Board of Supervisors follow the recommendations of the committee, allowing for greater transparency.

How to Repurpose Bay Area Freeways for Fast and Reliable Regional Public Transit

January 21, 2021 By Jonathon Kass, Interim Transportation Policy Manager
Imagine a Bay Area where your school, your job and your friend in the next county are no more than 30 minutes away via convenient, reliable buses zipping along uncongested freeway express lanes throughout the day. This vision is not just appealing — it's essential to delivering on our region’s transportation goals. SPUR’s latest report proposes a regional bus strategy to make it a reality.

How to Solve the Transit Budget Crunch: Price the Private Use of Public Streets

December 18, 2020 By Chris Elmendorf and Darien Shanske, UC Davis
COVID-19 has been catastrophic for public transit. Plunging fare and tax revenues are forcing drastic cuts. In a guest post for SPUR, two UC Davis law professors suggest that there’s a solution right under our feet: Make private drivers pay market rates to park on the public’s roads. And yes, they argue, it’s legal.

California Legislators Introduce New Bills as 2021 Session Kicks Off

December 15, 2020 By Michael Lane, San José Director
Last Monday, the California State Legislature convened to swear in members and introduce the first bills of the 2021-2022 legislative session. Here’s a round-up of notable bills that have already been introduced, including some key bills SPUR will be tracking.

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