Meet the New Sheriff

Four months ago Goldstein bought the unit directly below his and had a steep spiral staircase installed to join the two apartments. While the lower flat is incompletely furnished, it does contain the essentials - a fluffy couch and a TV set, this one a Mitsubishi with an even bigger screen - 70 inches. "If I can't have a big dick," Goldstein quips, "I can at least have a big screen." The view from the small balcony is inspiring: the Atlantic Ocean, boats foaming the open waters, traffic moseying along Route A1A, a clump of trees like an oasis off to the west, and there, peeking above the roof of a neighboring three-story apartment house, gusting due west in the breeze, waves an American flag.

The flag might be the most fitting symbol for a man who utilizes the First Amendment to its full potential. In the early days of Screw, Goldstein was regularly arrested on obscenity charges, which he successfully fought on constitutional grounds. Goldstein says he was arrested nineteen times in the first two years of publishing Screw, but he has not been busted since 1977, the year he was cleared of federal charges. These days he reviews X-rated movies for Penthouse magazine, has appeared in one adult film himself, and evaluates sex clubs and prostitution-related services in his Screw.

But those who would scoff at the notion of America's best-known pornographer and most outspoken journalist displacing Nick Navarro as chief law-enforcement officer of Florida's second most-populated county might be in for the sort of surprise Hartz's Leonard Stern received when he thumbed through the February 11 issue of Screw. About becoming sheriff, Goldstein says he's as serious as doggy death.

"I have a sense of what I'm dealing with," says the potential lawman. "I know Nick has adherents and a lot of people despise him. And so for me, it's a sense of what's necessary - researching, I didn't realize he had a [department] budget of $170 million [annually], and I've got to immerse myself in the issues. The bottom line will be - I'm not a law-enforcement person - it would be, What's my philosophy, who I would hire, and what help I'd get. Obviously my own credentials are wanting. He's supposed to spend 95 percent of his time on media. I was reading - have you read this? - `Why Is This Man Hugging a Pig?' This is all you need to run against him. He's his own worst enemy." The paradox is too obvious: Navarro hugs pigs for the camera, Goldstein hugs Porky because he loves his pig.

The article he refers to, published in the Miami Herald's Tropic magazine in August 1990, goes into great detail about Nick Navarro's astounding nose for newsmaking, his utter devotion to seeking publicity for himself. The story's anecdotal opening treads much closer to Goldstein's habitual territory: in the midst of an interview, the sheriff is called upon to submit to a "surprise" urine test. Glancing at the pee bottle's one-and-a-half-inch opening, Navarro asks, "Do you have one with a bigger mouth?"

The present sheriff seems to think he waves a large staff. "I wish my dick was five inches longer," says Goldstein. "I always envied John Holmes.... I always wanted women to be awed by my size." (Despite repeated requests, the usually publicity-hungry Sheriff Navarro declined to comment about his penis or anything else for this article. "He's not doing anything political right now," a spokesman explains.)

But like Sheriff Nick, Goldstein craves attention. His greatest regret about the failed prosecution of the 2 Live Crew - he attended the trial - was that the rap group snagged all the media's time. "I kept attacking Nick [in Screw and other forums] because busting 2 Live Crew seemed absurd," Goldstein explains. "Then I went to the trial every day, and I not only saw a stupid arrest in terms of, why bother philosophically, but I saw it ineptly handled. If you're going to do a bust, do it well. There were so many inappropriate things Nick did - he had his people using a microcassette recorder left in a shirt pocket, the tape was so muffled the jury laughed. He became a laughingstock, and, I must say, Broward County became the laughingstock of the nation."

It was the 2 Live trial that sparked Goldstein's campaign to unseat Navarro in 1992. "That's when it coalesced in my mind," he recalls, "that not only is this man dangerous politically, but that he's also dangerous as a policeman. If you're going to be a Nazi, be a good Nazi. Whatever we say about Hitler, he was efficient in the execution of Jews. If Nick were executing Jews, I think only six would have died and six million would have walked out alive. So I said, `Get off your ass, Al. Don't just write editorials attacking him, see if you can do something. I already have the time, I have the inclination, I'm going to use my own money. Unlike Nick, I'm not going to be knocking on people's doors for money and then owe favors. I really do believe I'll win." Goldstein has had campaign T-shirts manufactured, and he's renting advertising space on the outfield wall of Pompano Beach Municipal Stadium, where the minor-league Miracle baseball team plays.

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