eGundo.com’s mission is to explore the good in Gundo and a big part of the good in Gundo is the people that live here. We recently had the opportunity to talk with Scot Nicol, a 2018 El Segundo City Council Candidate, Owner of Nicol Real Estate, and owner and operator of Beach Mex El Segundo, to learn more about who he is and why he’s a shining example of the good in Gundo.
When did you move to El Segundo?
I came to El Segundo in 1992 as a Permit student to the middle school and later graduated from ESHS in 1998. Following graduation from UCLA, I returned to El Segundo and rented on Virginia Street. Opened Beach Mex restaurant with my wife and a couple business partners in 2009. Have been volunteering within the community through El Segundo Kiwanis Club since 2006. I have a sister who lives here in town with her husband and two boys.
What do you do for a living?
I am a small business person. I own and operate Beach Mex restaurant as well as run a successful real estate business. Both my businesses revolve around providing service to the public. I love that I am able to have my finger on the pulse of our town.
“Do what you love in the service of the people who love what you do”
Can you tell us something about you that people might not know?
I am a better listener than a speaker. I talk a lot so many people do not see how well I actually listen and retain the information they share with me. I proudly wore an El Segundo varsity soccer uniform for four years in high school as well as represented the varsity baseball team for three years on varsity.
What do you love most about El Segundo?
I love the community that lives within our borders. We are a proud community, one made up of many self-made individuals who know what it is to work hard for the things they have. I have said many times that El Segundo is a Blue Collar town with White Collar money… Appreciate what we have is seen in how we treat each other and this place we all call home.
Can you share an example of the Good in Gundo?
The good in Gundo… When I think of the good I look to the DOER’s we have in town. Those of us who are constantly volunteering to bring to life all the wonderful “extras” we love so much. Volunteers at the Chamber, Rotary Club, and my very own Kiwanis Club. El Segundo is who she is because of these volunteers. I salute all that give back and play a roll in our great community.
Can you tell us about your involvement in town prior to running for City Council?
I have volunteered in town since 2006. Giving back to the community that has given me so much is something I take great pride in. I started getting involved at City Hall in 2001 when I was appointed to the Environmental Committee. In 2012 I was appointed to a seat on the Planning Commission and have proudly served with my fellow commissioners for the past 5 1/2 years.
“Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.”
What made you want to run for El Segundo City Council?
I believe we all owe our community a civic duty. Small town politics and City Council should be seen for what it really is. It is a volunteer role played by members of the community for a set period of time. Very few Council people look to go on to other elected positions within the state. For me giving back to this town through serving the people of El Segundo as a council person with experience within the city was key. Learn the role prior to asking to be elected to the roll is very important to me. I hope to encourage others to volunteer and step up to lead our community.
Why do we break down our candidates?
Through this process, I have found we look at City Council candidates like Presidential candidates and we are simply not that. Instead of looking for motives in why people run, we should be happy we have knowledgeable people willing to run a campaign. Our community need not be divided on the few issues, rather we should find the commonality between us and work to keep El Segundo the wonderful place we all call Home. It is far to easy to pick people apart from the sidelines for the things we disagree on. Unfortunately, the byproduct is we scare others away from ever running. We lack good leadership on a consistent basis at the City Council level. We as a community can do a better job of encouraging our neighbors to get involved and step up to lead our community. I thank all those who were brave enough to run, brave enough to be put under the microscope, and brave enough to stand behind their beliefs.
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Candidate Views Questions
We asked each candidate to provide their views on several major topics as part of the 2018 El Segundo City Council Candidate Forums (note that we limited Candidates to 400 characters for each response. Many of these questions require an in-depth response which they each gave at several Candidate Forums).
|Your views on Public Safety|
|The security of the residents comes before all else. Without a safe community, none of the other aspects matter. Having community-oriented Police and Fire departments is something that helps El Segundo stand out in the crowd. I believe in the “El Segundo” name staying permanently affixed to the doors of the Police and Fire vehicles.|
|Your views on Quality of Life|
|Each resident has his or her own definition and perception of Quality of Life. Striking a balance between the El Segundo of yore, and the city of our future is integral to maintaining long-term success and well being. El Segundo is not mine, it is not yours; it is OURS and I intend to fight for a city that takes great care of all of its residents.|
|Your views on Education|
|Education is the foundation upon which a prospering society is built. In El Segundo, our schools are one of the many gems we hold near and dear to our hearts. As an Eagle alumnus of 1998, and a parent of two young children in the district, I believe the schools need to be supported by city hall however possible. The relationship between City and School District is one which needs to be symbiotic.|
|Your views on the School Bond Measure|
|The potential School Bond measure that has been discussed is one rooted in a desire to ensure our amazing schools. I was asked to be a part of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee in middle of last year. I understand the district’s vision. As an alumnus, I also understand the long-term master plan they have in place and the need for construction and updating throughout the district.|
|Your views on Infrastructure & Civic Strength|
|As a Council member, I will encourage all departments within the city to work together to make efficient choices when it comes to maintaining our streets, sidewalks, sewer lines, water mains, and our quality of life. Too often we witness firsthand what appears to be an inefficient use of city time and money.|
|Your views on City Finances|
|Financial health and a plan to sustain solvency as we know it in perpetuity need to be the goal of all Council people. As a Council member, I will utilize my small business experience and knowledge to work towards sustainable choices. I will continue to ask the tough questions of staff. The City is here to work for us, her residents, and city staff is here to work toward our goals.|
|Your views on Measure C|
|Measure C on the ballot is an interesting tax increase measure. The idea being presented is that Los Angeles County will raise the sales tax inevitably and so by voting to raise the tax now we would beat them to the money and stake a claim to that portion of the sales tax collected. In listening to our current council discussion about not wanting to tax our way out of a hole, I agree with them.|
|Your views on Business Development & Retention|
|El Segundo is very unique in that more than half of our land mass is inhabited by our corporate business neighbors. We have been awarded the Eddi in years past for being the most business-friendly city in Los Angeles County. We have a strong contingency of residents and business people that volunteer their time on the Economic Development Advisory Council (EDAC).|
|Your views on the new Aquatics Center|
|I am excited to see this project reach completion later this summer. Bringing an aquatic center into El Segundo has been a goal of our Park and Recreation Department for the better part of a decade. There has been a lot of conversation regarding the finances of this new facility and creating a plan that will put the facility on a path to financial solvency. The newly hired team of Jeanette Gant as Recreation Supervisor and Linnea Palmer as Recreation Coordinator to the Aquatics Department has, in my opinion, what it will take to make the Aquatic Center a huge success for El Segundo. The plunge is next on the list for a makeover and in 5 years time I know we as a city will be very pleased to have a wonderful historic public pool in the heart of town as well as a world-class aquatic center not far away.|
|Your views on Residential Development East of Sepulveda|
|Residential Development East of Sepulveda. This issue has been touched on in recent times, and the question is one that needs to be studied in depth. On face value, I see the potential positives and negatives. From an economic development standpoint, I do see the desire and demand for residential units in close proximity to businesses such as we see in many Westside areas.|
|Your views on Police & Fire Pensions|
|Police and Fire Pensions are always a topic of conversation around election time. In short, we as a city need to make changes that serve two purposes: one, a happy and health workforce comprised of high-quality applicants is what we the residents deserve. Two, a compensation package that ensures we retain our highly trained staff while not putting the city under extreme financial stress.|
|Your views on the Lakes & the Top Golf Deal|
|The Lakes Golf Course site and Top Golf have been a hot topic for the past five years. From the Planning Commission side of things, I voted to approve the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), and believe something must be done at the site to ensure the course stays open forever but is not a drag on the city’s general fund. I would really like to see the 5 million dollars paid back.|
|Your views on Home Prices & Rental Costs|
|Supply and demand drive the housing market in El Segundo. With 62% of our citizen base being renters it is important we keep an eye on the cost of rentals. Our award-winning schools drive the demand to live in El Segundo and so it comes as no surprise to me that rental cost has gone up in the past 5 years. Unfortunately, from a city perspective, I do not believe we should intervene in the housing market with any restrictions. Whether you rent or own in this town, if you call El Segundo home then you are a member of our great community and we are lucky to have you.|
Note from the Editor: We nominated all 4 candidates as “Good in Gundo” and all but one chose to participate in our nomination. We believe all candidates who have run in the past and who will run in the future deserve the label “Good in Gundo” and look forward to featuring them as well.
Learn more about Scot at his campaign website https://www.scotnicol.info/about-scot/