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Longtime Detroit mayor won't run again

Coleman Young, Detroit's first black mayor, announced Tuesday he won't seek an unprecedented sixth term.

"I've decided 20 years is enough," Young said after the 4 p.m. filing deadline for the fall election passed. At least 14 candidates are running for his job.

Young, 75, has battled his weight and resulting health problems, including emphysema, and he told reporters he was tired. "I do not think I could put as much into the job as I think it demands," he said.

"I certainly had an interesting time, and I will always look back with a warm feeling to the experience I had in the 20 years I was mayor. But there will be no regrets," Young said.

Young was the first black mayor of the nation's eighth-largest city, whose population is now more than 75 percent black. Elected six years after the 1967 race riots, he counts integrating Detroit's police force among his greatest accomplishments in office.

Young said the city boosted contracts with minority businesses from $20,000 in 1973 to $125-million a year ago. He said he improved neighborhoods and built new ones, and turned Detroit's riverfront into a cornerstone for downtown development.

The former union organizer, civil rights activist and state senator also is credited with steering Detroit clear of a $113-million budget deficit in 1981.

Young admitted the city has become known for high crime and unemployment rates. And its population was down by 1990 to just over 1-million from a peak of just under 2-million in 1950.

Two polls this year found that about 80 percent of the city's registered voters wanted Young to retire. When asked about the polls Tuesday, Young said, laughing: "Then they got their wish."

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