DETROIT, May 14 (Reuters) - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, who has lost most of his authority to an emergency manager appointed by the state, said on Tuesday that he will not seek reelection, and accused Michigan, the media and political pundits of unfairly denigrating the city.
A former professional basketball player and steel company executive, Bing swept into office in 2009 with pledges to fix the city’s ballooning deficit and restore neighborhoods decimated by crime, fires and residential flight.
Detroit’s long slide continued under his watch and the state of Michigan in March stepped in to appoint a bankruptcy lawyer, Kevyn Orr, to take over management of its finances.
Orr on Monday said Detroit is clearly insolvent and could face a possible bankruptcy if talks with labor unions and creditors do not make substantial progress on easing the city’s cash crunch by the end of June.
A bankruptcy filing by Detroit would be the largest municipal filing in U.S. history.
Bing, a Democrat, did not explain why he would not run for a new term but expressed frustration with Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s decision to appoint an emergency manager.
“I find myself wondering how the state (of Michigan) defines partnership,” Bing said.
His popularity suffered because he reduced fire and police protection, laid off thousands of city employees and cut bus routes. Bing’s relations with the city council were fractious and he was unable to stave off the state takeover.
He also blamed the media and political pundits for sensationalizing Detroit’s problems.
“The press fails to be fair and balanced in its reporting,” Bing said to applause. “They need to be held accountable,” he said.
Detroit is the poorest large city in the United States with more than a third of its residents living below the poverty line defined by the U.S. government. The city suffers from high crime, a population drain and a lack of jobs.
Bing, who turns 70 in November, was hospitalized twice last year for health problems.
Even though the emergency manager has drained most of the power of the mayor, a number of Detroit and state politicians have announced they will run for mayor. The general election will be in November.