BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Brevard County Commissioners targeted an outgoing Florida Today editor with a resolution Tuesday “honoring” her but instead the commissioners targeted the journalist’s nationality and the decline of newspaper sales.
Florida Today engagement editor Isadora Rangel announced last week she was leaving after 3.5 years at the Brevard County paper for a new position with the Miami Herald. During her tenure, Rangel has covered Brevard politics in her role overseeing the editorial board, which apparently ruffled the feathers of District 3 Commissioner John Tobia and District 2 Commissioner Bryan Lober. An editorial board is independent of any newsroom’s reporting.
During Tuesday’s county commission meeting, members first honored two young residents for earning the rank of Eagle Scout and then Tobia introduced a final resolution taking direct aim at Rangel.
Tobia introduced the “Resolution honoring Florida Today Reporter Isadora Rangel,” first listing off her qualifications as a journalist and job title but things quickly took a turn as Tobia continued on, “because of her eloquent prose, the circulation of the Florida Today dropped only 16% during her tenure.”
According to Florida Today executive editor Mara Bellaby, the news outlet grew its digital users by 33% last year.
“She selflessly advocated for public notice in newspapers despite the fact that it is rarely read, costs taxpayers millions and would benefit her employer’s pocket,” Tobia continued. “Her dedication to Brevard is exemplified by her accepting a position with the Miami Herald a mere three years after coming here; and whereas, her liberal views will be sorely missed by the Brevard Democrat alike.”
Without objection from any of the other commissioners the resolution passed.
Following the reading, Lober jumped in to ask if he could add to the resolution. He said he had two additions.
“Whereas throughout her employment with Florida Today Ms. Rangel never once let the fact that she is forbidden from voting in this county deter her from commenting on our politics and criticizing numerous Republican elected officials,” Lober said.
After reading the “more palatable” of his suggestions to add to the resolution, Lober removed his mask to read the second.
“Whereas despite her partisan and criticisms of the manner in which this county, state and country are run Ms. Rangel deserves recognition for selflessly not withstanding our nearly ten-fold higher per capita GDP and approximately 1/16th the murder rate of the country which she hails, “ Lober said sitting back in his seat with a grin.
After laughs all around from the Brevard County Commission, Tobia recommended the commission stick with the first addition Lober suggested but not the second targeting Rangel’s Brazilian nationality.
Tobia even offered to pay “out of his own pocket” to frame the resolution and Lober requested his own copy.
“Can I kick an extra $20 something dollars in to get a copy of that for my office? I really want that on my wall,” Lober quipped.
“I was born and raised in São Paulo Brazil,” Rangel told News 6 in an interview on Thursday.
She said the resolution did not come as a surprise given her reporting and opinions of the commission over her tenure at the newspaper.
“It does show that in some way, I did my job right,” she said “My job is not only to write opinions, but it was to hold elected officials and powerful people accountable. Sometimes it stings for some of them.”
Florida Today’s executive editor has also responded to the resolution.
“Clearly Tobia and Lober and the other commissioners saw Rangel as a thorn in their side and seemingly feel relief that she was so successful here as to earn an opinion writer’s job in a bigger market,” Bellaby wrote.
Tobia told News 6 on Thursday the resolution was meant in good fun.
Lober did not respond in time for this article but later sent an email to News 6 saying the resolution “speaks for itself.”
“People are offended by just about anything these days. It doesn’t surprise me that there are folks who turn a blind eye to blatantly obvious sarcasm and have no sense of humor,” Lober wrote.
Editor’s note: News 6 has a content sharing agreement with Florida Today that does not include opinion or editorial pieces.