A county commissioner, a top professional football player, a judge, a police major. It seems that to be anybody in Miami, you have to get caught in a prostitution sting on Biscayne Boulevard. The latest aspirant to infamy is schools watchdog Norman Lindeblad, who approached Hermina Salas, a police officer posing as a hooker, early on June 24. Here's Salas's description of the 58-year-old Lindeblad's actions, from a report: “The [defendant] said if you do me right, I'll give you $20. I asked him what do you want. He said, I'll play with your pussy then you can rub your pussy on my dick and I'll play with your tits. Then you can jerk me off and when I come, I'll clean it up. I said, okay meet me around the corner. A take-down signal was given and the [defendant] was arrested.” Until this incident Lindeblad was second-in-command of the school department's Office of Professional Standards (OPS), which conducts all investigations into allegations of alleged employee misconduct, including sexual harassment. Although that job would seem to imply he was an upstanding citizen, he obviously is not. His comment to Salas that “I don't pick up this close to the Boulevard. There's too many cops" made clear he regularly partakes of the Boulevard's sordid delights. Now superintendent Roger Cuevas has tucked Lindeblad into another position in risk management. The school department sure knows how to manage its risk, eh? And, in a final delicious irony, Lindeblad's former subordinates at OPS are investigating their ex-boss's actions. But heck, they'll likely have to wait until Miami cops and the State Attorney's Office are done. If experience is any judge, the school board will let him hang around sponging off taxpayers and displaying his delightful lexicon for students until retirement.

Around the same time Lindeblad was trolling for sex on Saturday, a couple of miles south at Club Space, the very hot downtown nightspot, Miami's men in blue were involved in another interesting encounter. As dozens of clubbers watched, officers subdued a thin, six-foot-tall, long-haired young man dressed all in black. While grinding the kid's cheek into the sidewalk, a muscular cop kneeled down, placed his hand on the back of the miscreant's neck, and shouted in his ear: “What do you think you're doing? This is Miami! Where are you from? This is Miami!” Next came the handcuffs and a trip to the patrol car. All the while a young woman, apparently the guy's date, stood to the side observing the scene. Although Riptide didn't ask the kid's (or the cop's) name, a police report filed about the same time describes the arrest of an Englishman named Eric Argyrou on charges of disorderly intoxication outside Club Space. Two officers named Camacho and Anderson, it seems, “politely” asked Argyrou to obey instructions. “Fuck you,” he allegedly replied.

Since this past January, television documentarian Ofra Bikel, a veteran producer for Frontline, easily America's best public-affairs program, has been sniffing around Miami. Recently she spent more than two weeks here interviewing about 40 people on camera. She's also gone to Cuba. Bikel admits to being an “Elian addict” and says the production she is pondering “will be more psychological than political.... People take [the Elian saga] like the Bay of Pigs, but basically all that happened is a child came and left.” She wouldn't name those with whom she has spoken, noting that our city is populated by “a vengeful bunch.” Then she laughed that our cloak-and-dagger atmosphere must have rubbed off: “It's catching, I guess.”

When Diane D. Paschal was principal of Henry E.S. Reeves elementary school, the place was a mess. As first reported in New Times ("A Lesson in Mismanagement," 5/20/1999), Paschal was accused of whacking a kid, a violation of school board rules. A teacher, Mariefrance Milhomme, allegedly spanked students in her first-grade class with a ruler-size wooden paint stirrer that she dubbed Mr. Stick. Teachers complained the finances, academics, and technology of the place were in woeful condition. An agreement with the for-profit Edison Project, Inc., which operated Reeves elementary under contract with the school district, also was condemned by the staff. In February the state concluded there was probable cause to believe Paschal “would use a belt or her hands to spank students as a method of punishment.” Now Pascal, who has denied striking any student, has found a golden parachute: a high-paying job with the Edison Project. Her attorney, H.T. Smith, says he has communicated with the state about the corporal-punishment charge and hopes to resolve it later this month.

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse