Old Town shop owner asks city to install lighting for flags

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The American flag flies proudly from coast to coast. But there is one, historic part of Albuquerque where you won’t find old glory. 

KOB 4 shows you a business owner’s struggle to get the city to take responsibility for a job it hasn’t done in decades.

John Hoffsis runs Treasure House Books and Gifts, but it’s his job across the street that has him perturbed. 

“It was getting to be an extreme constraint on my time,” said Hoffsis. 

It has fallen to Hoffsis to raise and lower the five flags on the poles on the Old Town Plaza.

Treasure House Books and Gifts is on the south side of the plaza, but on one side of the road, it’s the city’s property and that’s where the five flag poles are standing.

Because there is no light illuminating where the United States of America flag would fly, old glory needs to come down every night.

“It’s really something that, at the outset, should have been done by the city,” Hoffsis said. 

For nearly 50 years, it was his father’s job.

“He was a Korean War veteran and very proud of his country. He asked the City of Albuquerque to fly the flags, but they showed no interest. So, he offered to supply flags at his own expense and raise and lower them himself every day,” said Hoffsis. 

James Hoffsis detailed all of this in an email to the city. 

“He (James) did so every single day from 1974 until the early days of the pandemic when his health started failing him,” said Hoffsis. 

James was 93 years old.

“What comes to mind is, how much work he did and how much he had devotion he had to his job. He’d come here – he’d walk from his house which is a mile away some days seven o’clock in the morning and put the flags up,” Hoffsis said. 

Now, the U.S. flag, along with the Mexican, old Spanish, city and state flag sit in a red and white reusable grocery bag in his closet. The last time he had them flying was for Balloon Fiesta.

“Please let me know where the city stands on this,” said Hoffsis. 

He’d like to see a light installed so the U.S. flag can remain a fixture.

“It looks very lonely, and it looks very, it looks neglected right now,” said Hoffsis. 

We reached out to the city’s park and recreation department Sunday, and they sent the following statement: 

“City of Albuquerque’s Parks and Recreation Department is aware of the situation, and we would like to acknowledge and share our appreciation for the family’s years of service and assistance with the Old Town flagpole. We have designed a solution and have ordered lighting equipment for the Old Town flagpole. When we receive and install the necessary equipment, the flagpole will then be designated as an illuminated flagpole.”