(WJBK) - While the governor says there are elements in the plan that he embraces, namely the K-3 reading provisions, there are other elements in the House GOP DPS proposal that he will not endorse.
Asked if he was ready to wait eight years for Detroit voters to elect a new school board, the governor tells reporters, "It's clear I've been a supporter of the senate proposal for a long time...." That proposal does not include the eight year phase in of a new board.
The house GOP plan also features a weakening of union bargaining rights for the Detroit Federation of Teachers.
"I continue to support that (senate) plan. That's the best answer," but as he has done in the past he was careful not to denounce the Republican alternative saying he recognizes others will have different approaches and "I approve of coming forth with new ideas..it is part of the process."
Concerning the collective bargaining issue, which many believe complicates the governor's effort to nail down an inter-house compromise, he explains he is not "addressing issues with collective bargaining."
During the scrum the governor confirms that over the weekend he visited two families who had victims in the Kalamazoo mass murder involving seven individuals. "What a tough situation," the governor began after his unannounced visit to the young woman who was thought to be dead. "She was presumed dead and came back. (She) squeezed her mother's hand and other activities and that's incredible. Then I met with the mother of the young women that was shot at at the town house and had a dialogue with her. It's senseless violence," he concludes.
He added to his statement issued over the weekend saying, "My thoughts and prayers are with them. My hope is the entire support of the state is with them."
Prior to his media remarks he spent about a half hour touring the new state of the art Emergency Operation Center in the state complex near Canal Road on the cities west side. He shook hands with employees from all branches of government and the non-profit sector including the Red Cross. Over 45 employees were in the mammoth center surrounded by TV monitors and individual computers for everyone. He also attended the morning briefing with the state police, national guard and other state agencies and afterwards he gave an update on the latest water testing results in Flint.
One-hundred-seventy-five homes were tested, and 156 had lead levels that were below the "action level" of 15 parts per billion. Anything above that is considered unfit for human consumption and five homes in the so-called sentinel sights were above 100 parts per billion. Another 11 percent exceeded the action level by smaller amounts while 136 had water below 5 parts per billion.
"It's not time to draw conclusions," he advises everyone and he cautioned everyone not "to over-read into this."
He also, characteristically, down played any perceived angst with the Mayor of Flint. Mayor Weaver objects to the no bid contract hired by the state to conduct a water pipe assessment study to determine where the lead pipes are located. The governor explains the mayor signed off on that before the contract was signed as he was adamant about not moving forward unless the city was on board. The two also disagree on the time table for replacing all the pipes. She wants it now. He wants a study first and as for any tension?
"I don't view it as tension. There's a sense of urgency that people want to work hard. I don't play politics." Asked if someone else was, he deflected concluding, "I don't view it that way."
Does he feel the state had turned the corner on the water crisis? He would not go there either. "I don't take anything for granted. I want to get this resolved."