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Loan for new Magistrate Court building approved despite dissent

—Bill Diven

Sandoval County commissioners took out a loan to build a new Magistrate Court building last month during a meeting that also saw one commissioner suggest someone from Placitas or Corrales should serve on a hospital advisory board.

By a 4-1 vote at the January 14 meeting, commissioners approved borrowing up to $7.6 million dollars to build a 22,000-square-foot Magistrate Court building at the south end of the Sandoval County Judicial Complex. The project is not related to a proposed bond issue voters rejected in 2014 to expand the District Court.

The county is essentially acting as a middleman by getting the loan and holding the lease on the building. The loan and costs are to be repaid by lease payments from the state Administrative Office of the Courts.

The county takes ownership of the building free and clear after 14 years while the state lease runs another four years with two five-year-renewal options, according to the county’s financial adviser.

The project will close the Idalia Road entrance to the court complex from the south but open a new entrance and add additional parking on the west, off Nativitas Road. The current court building will likely retain one courtroom to handle prisoners from the adjacent jail and provide space for a drug court, County Manager Phil Rios said.

The deal was not without some controversy, however, as County Treasurer Laura Montoya questioned choosing a bank for the loan without issuing a formal request for proposals from other banks. Peoples Bank, which is making the four-percent loan, doesn’t have a branch in Sandoval County, she said.

“I talked to our banks, and they were never contacted” Montoya said. “They would like to have made an offer with a better deal.”

County financial adviser Rob Burpo said other banks were contacted and that state law doesn’t require a request for proposals when the county is acquiring a lease rather than a physical asset.

Commissioner James Dominguez voted against the loan and later said it wasn’t clear what the county would eventually own and what it would then cost to operate and maintain a 14-year-old building.

In other action, commissioners approved appointments to various boards with Commissioner Glenn Walters of Rio Rancho noting one vacancy in the two appointments the county makes to the Presbyterian Rust Medical Center community advisory committee. Walters said that with Rio Rancho already heavily represented, the vacancy should be filled by someone from Placitas or Corrales to join the other appointee William Sapien from Bernalillo.

Voting along party lines, commissioners re-elected Democrats Dominguez and Darryl Madalena as vice chairman and chairman of the commission respectively.

Commissioners also listened to comments from three county residents opposed to a proposed exploratory oil well near Rio Rancho and urged a moratorium on such projects until a regulatory ordinance can be approved. The comments came after County Attorney Patrick Trujillo warned commissioners not to make any statements of their own since a zoning application is pending before the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Application hearings are considered legal proceedings where witnesses are sworn in and all sides are supposed to be present. Whatever the P&Z Commission decides will eventually come before county commissioners for final action and under similar rules, he said.


Grow Your Business educational series

Did you know that the primary source of job growth in every community is attributed to 11 percent new business, eighty percent existing business expansions, and nine percent start-up operations?

Sandoval Economic Alliance has teamed up with the Dynamic Growth Business Resource Center to provide monthly educational workshops for our local business owners. SEA and DGBRC are organizing and facilitating peer-oriented roundtables that meet on a monthly basis. The goal is to provide comprehensive support and resources that are otherwise not available. We recognize and appreciate the importance of existing business as a main source of economic stability in our community and are committed to providing support for continued vitality and growth of local businesses.

Classes will be offered every second Wednesday of the month at Sandoval Economic Alliance from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. A light breakfast and course materials will be provided. The fee for each course is $39 dollars.

For program information, visit the Sandoval Economic Alliance Website: sandovaleconomicalliance.org/category/events/. To purchase tickets, visit the Dynamic Growth Business Resource Center’s Website: dgbrc.com/events-2/.


Surrender of Breda to Ambrosio Spinola and his Spanish Tercio in 1625
Photo credit: —Wikimedia Commons

The Spanish Tercios

—Matthew J. Barbour, Manager, Jemez Historic Site

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Spain was at the height of its power in both the Old and New Worlds. Much of this power was derived from its military might and much of that might was due to the Spanish Tercio. While other units such as Swiss Pikemen, French Musketeers, and Turkish Janissaries have captured the public’s imagination, all of these forces were bested by the relatively unknown Spanish foot soldiers.

The origin of the Tercio is the subject of some debate. The word means one-third. It has often been argued that because many of these troops were Italian that the origin of the word is associated with Spain’s three primary holdings in Italy: Milan, Naples, and Sicily. Others have speculated that the word has to do with the original composition of the unit representing: one-third pikemen, one-third arquebusiers, and one-third sword-and-buckle men. However, none of these explanations are fully satisfactory or necessarily mutually exclusive.

The first official mention of Tercio units was in 1536. This was in relation to payment of the Tercios during the Third Italian War. The composition of each unit was stated as twelve companies of pikemen and two of arquebusiers. While sword-and-buckle men were likely present, the importance of these troops within the Tercio was already in decline as Europe was entering into “the era of pike and shot.”

Yet, it is clear that the Tercio had existed sometime prior to this writing. Early forms of Tercios triumphed over the French at the Battle of Pavia in 1525. This battle was particular important, as not only was the King of France captured and forced to the sign the Treaty of Madrid, but the Tercio disproved the myth of Swiss Pikemen invulnerability on the battlefield through the use of firearms.

The Tercio was among the first fighting units to successfully combine pike and firearms into a single fighting unit. They appeared medieval in their use of helmets and breastplates, but also modern in their stream-lined matchlock arquebuses and disciplined block-style battle array.

Unlike most other foot soldiers of the era, Tercios were not mercenaries (like the German landsknecht) or slaves (like the Turk janissaries). Rather each was a citizen soldier fighting in a unit comprised of his fellow countrymen. Hence, the Tercio of Sicily comprised only of Sicilians and the Tercio of Seville comprised of only Spaniards from that region. This led to a sense of pride among the soldiers and healthy competition amongst the various units.

Throughout the 1500s and 1600s, the Spanish would win numerous battles against their Dutch, French, Portuguese, and Turkish rivals. During these conflicts, the Tercio units would participate in the bulk of the fighting. The role of the Tercio was to maneuver into a position where its gun men could lay down a withering fire on their opponents. Pikemen would protect the gunners from enemy cavalry or counter the “push of pike,” in which enemy pikemen would advance upon their position. Often this “push of pike” worked in the favor of the Tercios as the tightly-knit pike formations offered an ideal target on which to concentrate their fire and then counter with their own pikemen.

The ratio of arquebusiers to pikemen increased over time. Given that much of the emphasis was on firearms, this slow transition among the composition of the Tercios is unsurprising. The use of armor also diminished. By the late seventeenth century, Tercio units were wearing outfits more akin to standardized uniforms, with each unit having a distinct color. For example the Tercio of Valladolid wore green frock coats and the Tercio of Seville wore purple.

Key to Spanish success with the Tercios was to only fight when conditions were favorable and they held a numeric advantage over their adversaries. However, this was not always possible. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, much of Spain’s male population began to immigrate to the colonies leaving their Tercios often woefully undermanned.

In time, these units suffered greater and greater defeats as European battle tactics (linear arrays) and military technology (flintlock muskets and bayonets) continued to evolve. Under Bourbon King Philip V, the Tercios were reorganized into regiments more akin to those of the French with whom he was allied in 1704. “The era of pike and shot” was over and so were the Spanish Tercios.

 
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