California is spending $3.6 billion on rebuilding homes

California spends billions rebuilding burned towns. The case for calling it quits? California is spending $3.6 billion on rebuilding thousands of houses and businesses, largely destroyed by the Woolsey Fire. But critics argue that…

California is spending $3.6 billion on rebuilding homes

California spends billions rebuilding burned towns. The case for calling it quits?

California is spending $3.6 billion on rebuilding thousands of houses and businesses, largely destroyed by the Woolsey Fire. But critics argue that the spending is premature, and will cost far more.

“We have gone about this the wrong way. We should have just sent everyone home. The reality will be that this is too big an expense for them, and it’ll be five or even six years before we start building,” said Gary Kagan, a local real estate developer and longtime resident.

The state’s main goal is to get people back on their feet, he said, and rebuild on a smaller scale.

At this point, the main priority is clearing burned-out houses, with the intent to rebuild. For now, the state is doing small, focused projects — houses, business, community centers, etc.

But “We’re going to need a lot more homes and businesses to be rebuilt by the time we finish here,” said Cal Fire spokesman Patrick Jones.

The state, in many cases, is building on private land. But it’s doing that with the goal of using public money to save the homes, Kagan said.

“It’s a public-private partnership, but you’re building it by public money,” he said.

The cost of rebuilding homes has not been determined. Jones said the state wants to minimize it since rebuilding costs are expected to run nearly $9 billion.

The state’s housing goals were established five years ago. At that time, the state set up a task force headed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown.

The goal was to rebuild homes to $400,000 and for every $1,000 paid, $6 of state tax money would pay for it.

About three-quarters of the homes planned for rebuilding are in the San Diego and Imperial County areas. San Diego is the most expensive to rebuild for reasons such as

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