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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • 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?

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • Find more of SPUR's good government research

    Read More

Updates and Events

Good Government Awards: How Jocelyn Quintos Modernized Public Works

News March 22, 2012
SPUR's 32nd annual Good Government Awards , held March 19, honored City of San Francisco employees who have performed exceptionally, becoming models for other agencies and cities around the country. Jocelyn Quintos was honored for her outstanding leadership and management of the Department of Public Work’s accounting operations. Her diligence and dedication in working across many city departments led, in a mere six months, to the automation of the department’s Contract Service Orders, Change Orders, and HRC Compliance/Payment Authorization systems. This resulted in a significant reduction in processing times, faster mobilization of contractors to start work, and complete elimination of delays associated with paper-based approval processes. Watch our video on Jocelyn’s work:

Good Government Awards: How Steven Castille Made SF Parks World Class

News March 22, 2012
SPUR's 32nd annual Good Government Awards , held March 19, honored City of San Francisco employees who have performed exceptionally, becoming models for other agencies and cities around the country. Steven Castile was honored for his commitment to preserving public access to parks while ensuring environmental sustainability of parkland, managing the city’s agronomical practices for five golf courses, three stadiums (including Candlestick and Kezar Stadiums) and 220 parks. His particular accomplishments in bringing Harding Park up to the standards of the PGA Tour exemplify his ingenuity and creativity in staff management and resource allocation to create a world-class golf venue that generates visibility and income for the city. Watch our video on Steven’s work:

Lean, Mean Ballot for San Francisco This June

News March 19, 2012
As the rest of the country eagerly watches the Republican presidential primary drama unfold, San Francisco prepares for a comparatively uneventful June election. Five proposed initiatives have dropped off the ballot, leaving the city to consider just two measures this election. Prop. A would change the competitive procurement and franchising for solid waste disposal in the city. Passage would end Recology’s regulated monopoly, and could put the city’s goal of zero waste by 2020 in jeopardy. And Prop. B, a non-binding declaration of policy, aims to protect and maintain Coit Tower and beautify surrounding Pioneer Park by strictly limiting commercial activities and private events. Just two measures ... in San Francisco? Is it ballot fatigue? Has the recession depressed ballot activity? Did SPUR’s work on ballot reform strike the balance we hoped for? Regardless of the reason, San Francisco’s initiative process is clearly changing. In recent years, ballots have gotten...

Signs of an Upswing for SF Economy in 2012

News February 24, 2012
As the economy struggles to recover in the Bay Area, what are the prospects for city revenues in San Francisco? City budget staffers and experts on the local economy gathered at the 2012 Annual Economic Briefing, hosted by SPUR's Municipal Fiscal Advisory Committee, to discuss regional trends and projections for the city’s major revenue streams. The upshot: Our experts are starting to see some good news on the horizon. Unemployment has finally begun to decline, and San Francisco appears to be poised for revenue growth.

The Trouble With Ranked-Choice Voting

News January 6, 2012
Professor Corey Cook responds to Professor Rich Deleon's criticism of Cook's original Urbanist article covering ranked choice voting.

Follow Our Work

Get the latest updates on SPUR projects and events.

Sign up for our email newsletters