Pacific Palisades resident Allison Polhill has entered the race against City Councilman Mike Bonin, who is campaigning for a third term while facing a recall election next spring (pending verification of the recall signatures this month).
Polhill, who has lived on the Westside since 1983, has qualified for matching funds, along with rivals Jim Murez and Traci Park. The primary election is set for next June.
Polhill has spent the last 30 years working in the public school system and most recently as the chief advisor for Los Angeles School Board member Nick Melvoin, who oversees schools in Westchester, Playa Vista, Venice, Mar Vista, West Los Angeles and Pacific Palisades.
In a statement, Polhill said, “I’m running for L.A. City Council in District 11 to cut through red tape and deliver solutions to the unhoused crisis, protect the environment, improve transportation and address other tough challenges at City Hall.”
Polhill attended public schools, including UCLA, and then graduated from Loyola Law School. After marrying and having three children, this stay-at-home mom never stayed home. Instead, she fought tirelessly for public schools.
When her oldest child attended Palisades Elementary, Polhill became co-chair of the booster club (Palisades Enrichment Programs) and used her legal knowledge to help principals navigate dictates from LAUSD regarding charter schools. When the charter needed to be rewritten, she did it. Subsequently she wrote renewal charters for Paul Revere and Palisades High School. When LAUSD sought to cut block grants at Palisades Elementary and Revere, Polhill fought to find ways to keep those monies at the school.
When her children attended Palisades High School, she was elected to the school board for six years.
In 2017, Polhill ran for LAUSD School Board against Steve Zimmer, Nick Melvoin and Gregory Martayan, raising $114,132 in campaign donations. Ultimately, Zimmer and Melvoin received the top votes.
Polhill went to work for Melvoin after he was elected. She has served as LAUSD’s point person for modernization of the Venice High School campus and creation of state-of-the-art facilities. She was successful in keeping the community garden and renovating the school’s historic auditorium.
In Westchester, Polhill was part of a strategic planning process to create a kindergarten through high school pathway and secured millions in private funds for facilities improvements and money for academic, health and wellness and athletic programs.
She was also responsible for delivering $20 million to Palisades High School to add classroom air conditioning (which is promised this school year), and to upgrade heating systems.
At University High School, Polhill worked with the YMCA to strengthen the fitness programs offered at the school.
Polhill is committed to the environment and, within the LAUSD, has assisted in the district’s goal of 100 percent green energy by 2040, including a pilot solar installation project at various schools.
Polhill told CTN, “My colleagues have given me the nickname ‘the fixer’ because of my efforts to respond, listen and solve a wide range of issues – from traffic safety around our campuses and student health to more complex matters involving coordination between multiple governmental entities, community partners and businesses.”
She said that one of her top priorities as a councilwoman would be to address the unhoused crisis, noting “We must deal with encampments now.” She favors local programs, such as the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, so that “each community can establish programs that work best for their communities.”
She also advocates cutting through the red tape to build more housing. “That’s what I’ve done in helping to manage LAUSD’s 10,000 properties and being part of the campaign to pass Measure RR to provide $7 billion for school facilities.”
Polhill would like to incentivize builders “to finish projects early like we did with the 10 Freeway after the Northridge quake.”