Guide to Municipal Resources in San Francisco, California

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This article is about (a guide to) resources available in San Francisco, California.

San Francisco is a city-county located on the West Coast of the United States at the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, which includes stretches of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay and several islands -- Alcatraz, Treasure Island, Yerba Buena Island, a small portion of Alameda Island, Red Rock Island, Angel Island and Farallon Islands.

Besides its mild, pleasant climate, San Francisco is renowned for its unique steep rolling hills, attractive mix of architecture, great ethnic and cultural diversity and famous landmarks -- the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Chinatown and the Mission San Francisco de Asís, the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco (founded in 1776), not to mention the exquisite art galleries at SFMOMA, the more than 200 parks, including the largest and best-known Golden Gate Park. The ideal climate also encourages outdoor activities and San Francisco has ample resources and opportunities for sports and recreation.

The San Francisco Municipal Railway (SF Muni or Muni) is the public transit system for the city and county of San Francisco. In terms of ridership, Muni is the seventh largest transit system in the United States. Except several lines, most Muni lines run roughly inside San Francisco city limits. Its network consists of 54 bus lines, 17 trolley bus lines, 7 light rail lines that operate above ground and in the City's lone subway tube (called Muni Metro), 3 cable car lines and a heritage streetcar line.

With all these positive resources, it’s not surprising that San Francisco is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. In fact, tourism is the backbone of its economy. Over 16 million visitors arrived in San Francisco in 2007, bringing nearly $8.2 billion to the economy. San Francisco is also a major banking and finance center. Many large financial institutions, multinational banks and venture capital firms are based or have regional headquarters in the city. San Francisco ranks eighteenth in the world as top producing cities or ninth in the United States. Foreign governments keep more than seventy consulates in San Francisco. San Francisco serves as the regional hub for many arms of the U.S. federal bureaucracy, including the U.S. Court of Appeals, the Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. Mint. The State of California uses San Francisco as home of the state supreme court and other state agencies.

San Francisco is a consolidated city-county. Under the city charter, the government of San Francisco is constituted of two co-equal branches. The executive branch is headed by the mayor and includes other citywide elected and appointed officials as well as the civil service. The 11-member Board of Supervisors, the legislative branch, is headed by a president and is responsible for passing laws and budgets, though San Franciscans also make use of direct ballot initiatives to pass legislation.

Through its site www.sfgov.org, San Francisco provides a Customer Service Center, giving information and services online 24x7 about:

- Animals & Pets

Adoption, Dog Licensing, Lost Pets, Volunteering, Animal Bite/Noise Complaints

- Business

Permits, Licenses, Starting a Business, Contracts with the City, Demographics Info

- Garbage & Graffiti

Graffiti, Street/Sidewalk Cleaning, Litter, Recycling, Garbage Can Maintenance

- Streets & Sidewalks

Potholes, Sidewalk Defects, Tree Maintenance, Damaged Property, Streetlights, Parking Zones, Parking Meters

- Utilities

Catchbasins, Sewers, Streetlights, Flooding, Water Quality, Gas. Electric/Power

- Building & Construction

Request Inspection, Building Codes, File Building Complaint, New/Existing Permit Services

- Community

Birth/Death, Marriage, School Information, Centralized Commission, Task Force, Committee Database, City ID Cards, Taxes, Veteran's Resources, File a Police Report

- Parks

Golden Gate Park, Activities, Park Trees, Playgrounds, Structural Maintenance

- Transportation/Transit Tools

SFO Airport, Muni, Taxi, Bicycles, Abandoned Vehicles, Parking, Blocked Driveways

- Other

Request service or information from other City Departments

The website also publishes emergency services and public safety in case of crimes, fire breakouts, emergency medical actions, animal care and control etc.

Finally, this guide to San Francisco municipal resources wishes to highlight again that San Francisco has a vibrant and successful business environment, with thriving companies both large and small. The City of San Francisco offers a range of resources to businesses, including incentives, training and access to capital.

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Gilbert Cooper

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