Miami-Dade commissioners briskly agreed to rename a thoroughfare outside Marlins Park after Jose Fernandez, opting to move forward with an honor complicated by recent news that the star pitcher had alcohol and cocaine in his system when he and two companions died in a crash on Fernandez’s powerboat.
Sponsor Bruno Barreiro did not directly address the circumstances of the crash, beyond saying “there was a tragic incident in the end, but he paid with his life.”
“This naming is for the life… he led as a baseball player,” he added. “He reached heights that very few have reached.”
Barreiro’s resolution was placed on Tuesday’s agenda days before Miami-Dade released the Fernandez autopsy report Saturday on the heels of a public-records lawsuit by the Miami Herald.
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The report showed Fernandez, 24, was legally drunk and with cocaine in his system at the time of the Sept. 25 crash, which also killed two other men in the boat: Emilio Jesus Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25. The public release of the results turned what was set to be a celebration of the 24-year-old baseball player’s embrace by Miami into something far more restrained.
While Tuesday’s meeting drew 12 commissioners, only the bare minimum of seven were in their seats at the dais when the Fernandez item arrived on the agenda. Esteban “Steve” Bovo, the vice-chairman left with the gavel in Chairman Jean Monestime’s absence, called for a voice vote. No one objected.
Sitting with Barreiro and Bovo at the dais were Daniella Levine Cava, Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Audrey Edmonson, Sally Heyman, and Rebeca Sosa. Besides Monestime, those missing were Barbara Jordan, Xavier Suarez, Javier Souto, and Juan C. Zapata. Commissioner Dennis Moss did not attend.
Suarez said he had to leave the chambers to deal with an urgent issue but that he supported creating Jose Fernandez Avenue.
The resolution takes effect in 10 days provided Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez does not veto the legislation. Because mayoral vetoes are extremely rare, commission approval is generally considered final. Gimenez spokesman Michael Hernández did not respond to a request for comment.