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.

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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

Why You Need to Vote No on the Gas Tax Repeal

News July 16, 2018
Last year's passage of state transportation funding bill SB1 represented a monumental win for California and the Bay Area. But this victory may have been short-lived: Proposition 6, a ballot measure to repeal SB1, will go to California voters in November. The proposed repeal is a vote against safe streets, roads and infrastructure in favor of greater subsidies for driving.

How to Be a Local Government Change Maker

News July 5, 2018
Since 2008, the City Halls Fellows program has placed college graduates in local governments around the U.S. At a recent SPUR forum , former fellows and city employees discussed their experiences and advice on what it takes to make change in local government — both how to have impact as a citizen and how to make innovative changes in government from the inside out.

Should Oakland Tax Vacant Properties?

News May 16, 2018
According to a recent analysis of data from the Alameda County Assessor’s Office and the City of Oakland, there are approximately 4,000 vacant parcels in Oakland. In a move that could prompt owners of these properties to build on them — and in the process generate revenue for purposes including homeless services — Oakland is considering imposing a tax on vacant properties.

San Francisco's Next Mayor

White Paper May 9, 2018
By any measure, the previous decade has been a period of dramatic change and growth for San Francisco. But for many, this unprecedented prosperity has failed to address — and has even contributed to — the many challenges the city still faces. SPUR offer a platform of specific policy goals and practical solutions for the next mayor and the city for the years ahead.

The Encampment Resolution Team Pioneered SF's Navigation Centers 

News March 27, 2018
The 2018 Good Government Awards, held on March 21, recognized outstanding job performance of those serving the City and County of San Francisco. The ceremony honored the Encampment Resolution Team, which designed and built the Waterfront Navigation Center in the Dogpatch neighborhood, creating a model for cities such as Seattle and Berkeley.

Jesus Mora Improves SF's Emergency Response Systems

News March 27, 2018
The 2018 Good Government Awards, held on March 21, recognized outstanding job performance of those serving the City and County of San Francisco. The ceremony honored Jesus Mora, whose leadership improved the delivery of the city’s emergency response systems.

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