Jeff Smith 6 p.m., Feb. 27
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Wikileaks: CIA staked out OB
The ongoing drama surrounding leaked diplomatic cables came to Ocean Beach today when the Wikileaks organization released a report from an American intelligence agent sent to OB to investigate “possible revolutionary sentiment.”
The report, which the unidentified agent submitted in mid-2010, seemed to downplay reports of a secessionist movement in the area. While confirming that “an area gift shop” was distributing a sticker reading “US out of OB,” the report concluded that “the sticker appears to be humorous, as other stickers sold at the same storefront” featured messages such as “100% Bitch” and “Wine Me, Dine Me, Sixty-Nine Me.”
Other details from the leaked report provide fascinating insights into the US government’s dossier on Ocean Beach. For example, in an apparent nod to OB’s economic diversity, the report said the community “includes a sizable helping of high-end homes and automobiles” while at the same time “is not without an appealing touch of surf-town surliness.”
After encountering “a pungent, skunk-like aroma” while walking past a stretch of cottages near the beach, the report’s author speculated that the odor “might have been related to area voters’ recent ringing endorsement of California’s Prop 19.”
The report described Newport Avenue as home to “a myriad of small businesses” with “an apparent emphasis on alcohol and antiques.” The report also described Newport as “pleasantly free of chain stores and franchises, with the exception of one coffee shop” whose name was redacted.
The report noted that “wide open, unspoiled views of the Pacific” have been maintained in Ocean Beach “thanks to a 30-foot height limit thoughtfully enacted decades before.” Still, the report’s author seemed perplexed by some homeowners’ development decisions.
“One beachfront street has a new home that stands two stories taller than the other homes on the block,” the agent wrote. “Who would do that?”
The report’s author also expressed confusion at “some residents’ impractical affinity” for four-wheel drive vehicles, given that “all roads are adequately paved, the area receives no snow, and it hardly ever even rains.”
According to the report, the agent’s visit to OB included a stop at South Beach Bar and Grill, where the Mahi tacos were “seriously delicious.”