How SF Government Works
A civics class delivering expertise on the San Francisco city government. Applications now open.
Applications for cohort 1 of How SF Government Works are open now until February 29. See below for class details.
What You Will Learn
When you leave this class, you will know How SF Government Works. That means you will be able to:
Describe fundamental concepts like law, government, politics, citizenship, and more
Clearly articulate the relationship between citizenship and government
Draw a basic timeline of SF political history
Draw a map of SF the political system
Trace the legislative process, including how it relates to ballot propositions
Understand political capital, how to get it, and how to use it. You will leave with more than you started with and you will know how to “do citizenship”
Where: near Union Square, right off Market street
When: Tuesdays, 6:00-8:00pm, starting 03/05/24 and ending 04/19/24 (off 03/26)
Tuition: $350 (If you need to give yourself a scholarship, do so)
Weekly readings to prepare for each class
Weekly Substack posts which will apply class content and jumpstart the process of generating political capital
Visit City Hall and watch a meeting, then debrief with me afterward. I will provide a list of good options, but accommodations can be made if necessary.
Pick a street or building in your neighborhood, research its namesake and history, and give a short presentation
A final exam during the last class which is graded pass/fail
Framework for thinking about law
Framework for thinking about government
Civ Lab political philosophy
Charter, Administrative Code, other codes, Executive Directives
Elected officials: Mayor, Board of Supervisors, Superior Court, and more!
Commissions, Boards, Departments, and more!
SF Government: special topics
SF City vs SF County
SF relationship to state and federal level
Gold Rush era: SF incorporation
Golden Gate Gilded Age
Reconstruction after the earthquake of 1906
WWII, the UN, and the Treaty of San Francisco
Post-war Freeway Revolt and redevelopment
1970s: Political upheaval and aftermath
1996: A new city charter
Expectations and Etiquette
We’re here to learn about government and have a good time doing it. Government is a complex system and we will treat it as such. Our exploration will be serious, optimistic, and rigorous. To create this environment, we must commit to the following:
No bullshitting; be concrete. Vibes do not build civilizations and they will not help us understand our government. We aim to make contact with reality.
“Politics” is a good word. “Government” is a good word. Doing citizenship is cool and fun if you do it right. In this class we will learn how.