04/25/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sharing Innovative Solutions to America's Problems

As leaders in our nation's capitol continue to talk about health care reform, in California premiums keep rising and millions remain uninsured. Health insurers in our state and across the country face scrutiny for unjustifiable premium increases. Thousands more are now likely to lose their coverage.

Cities don't need to wait for Washington to solve our problems. They can come up with creative solutions, like we've done in San Francisco when we launched the country's first universal health care program, Healthy San Francisco two years ago. Today, almost 85% of previously uninsured residents are enrolled in our public program.

Healthy San Francisco is saving lives, reducing costs and creating competition.

My office receives calls from other cities all the time asking how we created Healthy San Francisco and if a similar program would work for them. In an effort to make it easier for other cities to learn about and implement creative solutions like Healthy San Francisco, I am pleased to announce the launch of, a one-stop destination for idea sharing and collaboration.

The site showcases some of San Francisco's most innovative policy efforts from Healthy San Francisco to our open data policy that powers our Open Gov efforts on Our hope is that by opening up our policy to a broader community of government and civic leaders, these ideas can grow and take off in other cities.

PolicySF provides all the information needed to understand and implement similar policies in one's own community. We have loaded the site with "policy toolkits" which offer readers an overview of the policy, frequently asked questions, an explanation of the policy making process and a copy of San Francisco's legislation used to initiate the program. The toolkits provide step-by-step procedures on how to implement the policy.

Additionally, we are asking local communities to share their own good policy ideas with visitors to the site. Perhaps someone in Chicago or Tulsa has figured out a creative solution to a problem and wants to let everyone know how to replicate it.

We will be adding more toolkits to PolicySF in the weeks and months ahead. The site currently features a number of San Francisco policies, including Healthy San Francisco, our plastic bag ban, San Francisco Promise, JobsNow and our open data policy.

As, the former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neil stated, "all politics is local." We are trying to help cities solve challenging problems by sharing some of the best ideas from our cities.

PolicySF is part of a larger Open Gov Initiative for the City and County of San Francisco, which focuses on open data, open participation and open source.