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Former Palisades Council President Honored for Her Work

Janet Turner, former president of the Pacific Palisades Community Council of the last two years, recalls saving the Jaws of Life for the fire department a pivotal part of her tenure.

Outgoing Pacific Palisades Community Council President Janet Turner received gifts and congratulatory remarks at Thursday night's meeting at the , being remembered for her two years of service. 

Newly elected President Barbara Kohn began her term on July 1, and Turner now serves as new chairwoman emeritus.

"Janet has been an outstanding leader," Kohn said, citing Turner's vision, leadership, enthusiasm and guts. "She will be a hard act to follow."

Saving the Jaws of Life for Palisades

When asked about her accomplishments, Turner referred to the salvaging of  from serious cuts and saving their Jaws of Life extrication tool. She referred to a speech she gave earlier this year about the fiscal downturn of the city, specifically the aimed at the station last summer. She said Pacific Palisades was about to lose Engine 69 and staffing would drop from 12 firefighters to six.

With Pacific Palisades in a designated high-risk fire zone, Turner said the city tried to sell the idea that full staff and equipment would always be in place on red flag days, and they would get an extra ambulance.

"Statistics prove that this is what you need most of all," she said. "Then we found out that extra ambulance would be designated a roving ambulance, so it would rarely be in the Palisades, and when it would leave it would take two of our men with it. That meant that we would only have four firefighters standing by at all times."

Turner said this presented a problem because if a major accident occurred on Sunset Boulevard or the Pacific Coast Highway, the truck with the Jaws of life would be available, but there wouldn’t be enough manpower to use it.

"Anyone critically injured and needing it would have to pray for a miracle as they wait for the Jaws of Life from Venice or Westwood to get there," she said.

The council lobbied Councilman Bill Rosendahl, the LAFD fire chief and the City Council for two more men, but the city said they didn't have the money.

"But by being persistent they did realize that we had a point," Turner said. "And with the help of Councilman Rosendahl the the men assigned to the ambulance are were reassigned back to the station full time. If the Jaws of Life are needed, they now have the manpower to use it."

Other notable thoughts and objectives

Turner cites the council's mission, which is read at the beginning of every meeting, and particularly, to be a forum for the discussion of community issues.

"And when those issues are of great sensitivity, we will attempt to mediate them," she said. "Our work as advocates has never been so great. We are constantly making sure they don’t take away our essential core services and our protections."

Turner added her and the council's work to protect Palisades' beautification efforts to keep its bus stop benches as is, and not be replaced by advertiser-friendly ones.

She noted they are currently fighting the city's proposed sign ordinance to sell advertising space on banners that run along streets in other unincorporated neighborhoods and put advertising on Palisades Park Baseball Field. Turner said the council came to the rescue by rewriting part of the ordinance to keep Pacific Palisades' protections in place, but Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa reportedly wants the ordinance to pass and "the fight is just beginning."

On Thursday night, Kohn presented Turner with gifts, including a bouquet of flowers and a jar of apricot jam. Joaquin Macias, field deputy from Councilman Rosendahl's office, presented a certificate.

"The City of L.A. owes you a debt of gratitude for the last two years for your work," he said.

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