He loved this city.
I had the opportunity to meet with Mac Miller a couple of times. I called him Mac, and he never corrected me, so I always kept with it.
We met in my office on business. An attorney friend suggested the meeting, as did his manager, saying he really wanted to talk about ways he could give back to Pittsburgh. This was during my first term, probably 2015 or ’16. We had a phone call earlier with his accounting people and legal team, and he was looking to create a charitable foundation.
Anyway, at this meeting, he told me of this idea: create playgrounds around the world that would be safe for kids and families — and they would be identifiable by a blue slide. He wanted the first one to be in Pittsburgh. And that began a discussion that went into after-school programming to teach digital music and computer coding to kids. Mac thought there was potential to partner with Wiz Khalifa to create this after-school programming for Pittsburgh’s schools.
I think about that time I met him in my office and two subsequent times, and I found Mac to be a very caring person. He was genuine about wanting to help. He had a deep love for Pittsburgh.
His family and friends will have the opportunity to memorialize and remember Mac in a way they feel is best. If that would be by going forward with the partnerships he proposed, the city would be honored to be part of it. If it’s through other initiatives, the city would be interested in that, as well.
Our public works crews saved all the things that people left at his memorial at Blue Slide Park. They’ve already started planting the flowers people left, and saved the mementos for Mac’s family. Nobody had to ask, and I think that’s a testament to Mac, too.
He had very good friends. I know that from meeting many of them. Mac had a whole crew of friends that went back through his lifetime, and he took them on this ride he had. If you met his mom and dad, which I did at an album-release party at Spirit in Lawrenceville, you’d see that same sort of light in them that he had. It was just based upon kindness and friendliness. They’re Point Breezers. So was he. I lived in the same neighborhood for 20 years, and I like telling the story that Mac’s Little League coach was (Allegheny County Executive) Rich Fitzgerald. It reminds of how small Pittsburgh is.
The nice thing about Mac is that it didn’t matter where you came from or what you did, he just treated everybody the same way — and it was always with kindness.
I was in Europe a couple of years ago, passing through Paris, and he was playing. I contacted him on Twitter. He was, like, “Yo, come to the show!” I was, like, “OK, maybe I can make it.” I never made it to that show, and now I regret it.
Mayor Bill Peduto collaborated on this essay with editor-in-chief Rob Rossi.