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The City Report Card

A grammar school–style assessment of the true state of San Francisco, from policing to housing to the chaos on our streets. 


San Francisco is a city that defies quantification. How do you grade a place whose breathtaking views, wondrous amenities, and enlightened social climate are accompanied by obscene rents and property values, rising crime and plummeting arrest rates, and government efficiency that often rivals that of a GOP caucus? You go by feel—not to mention reams of data, several Freedom of Information Act requests, and dozens of interviews with experts and bureaucrats.

Then, in an act that’s sure to unleash a torrent of reader emails (which we welcome at and inflict bouts of heartburn among city officials, you assign letter grades to 24 different elements of city life. We’ve looked at our library system, our homelessness problem, Muni, the police department, our parks, our schools, Mayor Ed Lee, and even how 420-friendly we are.

The results are, as you’d guess, a mixed bag. A city as bifurcated as this one—where high rollers hopscotch over homeless people on the way from the condo to the Uber—is difficult to score. Still, there are some useful facts and figures out there, some of them surprising—the budget report card, for example, is positively mind-boggling. We don’t pretend that we employed a Google-like algorithm to arrive at these grades: Our intention was simply to stimulate honest discussion—and, we hope, inspire some real changes.

Check back often; we'll be adding new stories every day until the report card is complete.

San Francisco’s Incredible Expanding Budget
Ed Lee’s Not-Excellent Adventure
San Francisco’s Permit Hell

Breaking Our Addiction to Private Cars
Gridlock City
#MuniFail. Or Not!

The Rich
The Middle
The Poor

Do San Francisco’s Schools Look Like San Francisco?
Doing the Math
Can We Believe in CCSF Again?

Law and Order
Cops: The Soap Opera
Mean Streets
Furious George
I Left My Heart (and iPhone) in S.F.

City Life
Where Art Thou?
A Walk in the Park
Remember the Empress!
Book ’Em!
Weed Wonderland

How Many Units Do We Need to Build Before These $%#!?! Prices Go Down?
Our Huddled Masses
Making Public Housing Private


Originally published in the April issue of San Francisco

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