We should be promoting local ownership in any way possible.

I wonder how many of the vacant storefronts and buildings in my town would remain vacant were they not owned by out-of-town landlords who seems happier to have them sit empty than to charge lower rents.

I’m sure any attempt by the city to do anything to promote local ownership (or even to discourage vacancy) would be met by howls about government overreach and infringement upon the free market, but this problem seems like a pretty big deal to me. If you own a building but you don’t live here—if you don’t walk by it every day—how much can you really care about that building’s role in and impact upon the surrounding community?

Meanwhile, it sits there with your big For Rent sign in the window, while people who actually do live here have an idea for a new business or need a roof over their heads can’t afford a space.