Good Government

Our goal: Build the capacity of the public sector

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 helps voters 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

How Has San Francisco Done on Addressing Housing and Homelessness?

News August 15, 2019
Just before San Francisco’s 2018 mayoral election, SPUR released San Francisco’s Next Mayor: A Blueprint for Change, a policy agenda for the city's next leader. One year later, we took a look back at the progress that Mayor Breed and the Board of Supervisors have made toward those recommendations, specifically on housing and homelessness.

Time to Rethink How Oakland Passes Budgets

News July 30, 2019
July marks the beginning of the new fiscal year for the City of Oakland, and with it the end of a rancorous two-month-long adoption process for a new two-year budget. Without a city controller to establish a common set of financial facts, the debate in Oakland is not only over which priorities to fund but whose numbers to believe.

SPUR responds to San Jose Mayor's June Budget Message for 2019-2020

Policy Letter July 25, 2019
SPUR supports the San Jose mayor's June Budget Message for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 and proposes additional set funding allocations to better support the future of Guadalupe River Park, the need for increased community engagement, dedicated resources to complete an Alum Rock Urban Village plan, and to support the creation of an equity framework.

SPUR responds to City of San Jose proposed General Plan Four-Year Review Scope of Work

Policy Letter July 25, 2019
SPUR weighs in on city staff recommendations for the scope of work for the San Jose General Plan four-year review, which will begin in the fall of 2019. SPUR supported staff recommendations but proposed additional items to be considered by the Task Force. The letter address SPUR's recommendations for consideration by city council.

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