Breed critical of Senate pick / Palo Alto park opens to all

It’s Wednesday, December 23rd.

Hello, San Francisco. It’s Wednesday, December 23rd, and here’s some local news you should know today: 

  • Mayor London Breed urged SF residents in a virtual press conference on Tuesday to follow stay-at-home orders during the holiday season to avoid a post-Christmas spike in Covid cases. “We're still in a very, very dangerous place in this city,” Breed said. San Francisco is averaging around 275 new cases per day, the highest in the city since the start of the pandemic. 

  • In the same press conference on Tuesday, when asked about governor Gavin Newsom’s decision to appoint Alex Padilla to fill Kamala Harris’s U.S. Senate seat, Mayor Breed said “it was definitely a surprise” and “an unfortunate situation.” Padilla will be the first Latino to represent California in the Senate, though some had called on Newsom to replace Harris with a Black woman. With Harris now the Vice President-elect, there are no Black women in the U.S. Senate. Later on Tuesday, Harris posted a tweet congratulating Padilla and calling it a “historic day in California, esp for the Latino community.” 

  • If you see a man on the corner of 18th Avenue and Irving Street (in the Sunset) who’s selling honey, that’s Ashot Hovhannisyan, a local beekeeper and owner of “Brother Bear” honey. Originally from Armenia, as told in a recent SF Weekly profile, Hovhannisyan sets up shop on that corner most weekends and also sells his honey at 828 Irving Market, located between 9th and 10th Avenue on Irving Street. Maybe consider picking up a bottle or two if you’re looking for a last-minute gift.  

  • Eater released its list for the most exciting new Bay Area restaurants in 2020, and it’s making me hungry. Some East Bay standouts include Smish Smash (burger shop), Lion Dance Cafe (vegan Singaporean food), and Horn BBQ (Central Texas-style barbecue). Some places on the list in SF that I want to check out include Komaaj Kitchen (northern Iranian food), Fenikkusu (reasonably priced Omakase), and United Dumplings (sporting original work like the “Mission chicken potsticker”). 

  • Palo Alto’s Foothills Park, 1,400 acres of hiking trails and open space, finally opened to the public last week after more than 50 years of restricting non-residents from visiting. Previously, it was a misdemeanor for those without a Palo Alto address to enter the park, but an ACLU lawsuit earlier this year helped overturn the restriction, which was the only of its kind for a public park in California. The SF Gate’s Grant Marek recently visited Foothills Park and called it “majestic.” 

Oh, and did you check out the “Great Conjunction” the other night? Here’s a cool shot over Mt. Tam in case you missed it.

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That's all for today, and for the year! Remember, you can always listen instead on Thank you all for the support and feedback during the early days of this project. I hope there’s much more to come in the new year. Have an awesome holiday, be safe, and talk soon!