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New Mexico seems to have an awful lot of disrespectful people who like to deface public property. As you drive around Albuquerque, you see plenty of graffiti; the city even has a special division of the Police Department dedicated to catching vandals and cleaning the messes they leave behind.

It particularly angers me with these miscreants target historical or cultural landmarks.

A couple of years ago, somebody defaced the beautiful artwork that had just been installed on the noise-abatement barriers lining the Interstate north of Santa Fe. There have been numerous times when various petroglyphs or ancient pueblos have received coatings of spraypaint.

The latest affront has been the significant number of Albuquerque Tricentennial decorative flags that have been stolen over the past several months. These are large banners that hang from tall poles throughout the tourist areas of the city. Many of the poles - particularly in the Knob Hill area and around the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center - are now empty. That someone would steal these shows how little they care about their own city. It also angers me because - as a taxpayer - I helped buy those flags.

(While on the subject of Albuquerque's Tricentennial, I ordered a nice shirt and some other items from the official website back in October. Although my credit card was debited a month ago, I have yet to receive anything from them and my email inquiries have gone unanswered. If nothing happens this week, I plan on taking my concerns to Mayor Chavez. I'm sure he can get the ball rolling on my order!)

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