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Local firm named on jihadist site

July 01, 2011|By Bill Kisliuk, bill.kisliuk@latimes.com

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) on Friday sought to allay concerns that a local aviation firm might be the target of Al Qaeda.

Schiff said the FBI confirmed that Pasadena’s AeroVironment Inc., which makes the unmanned drone planes used by the U.S. military, appeared on a hit list posted on a jihadist website. The names of company executives were also listed on the site.

There is no evidence of a specific plan of attack, Schiff said, adding that federal authorities are working to ensure the safety of local aviation and military contracting firms.

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“There has been a proliferation of threats on jihadist websites over the last several years, and especially since the killing of Osama bin Laden, as Al Qaeda has been trying to reaffirm its credibility after being marginalized by the Arab Spring,” Schiff said in a statement. “Many thousands of these kind of threats have proved no more than idle rants over the years.

Nonetheless, many Southern California companies produce advanced technologies and products that play an important role in maintaining our national security, and we need to take every threat seriously.”

Legislators’ budget losses are released

State taxpayers saved about $48,600 a day while lawmakers were kicked off the payroll for failure to pass a budget by June 15, according to state Controller John Chiang.

Rank-and-file members, including Assemblymen Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) and Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), each lost about $4,830 between June 15, when Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the Legislature’s original budget, and June 28, when lawmakers passed the budget the governor eventually signed.

Chiang was acting under Proposition 25, which voters approved in 2010. The measure reduced the number of legislative votes needed to pass a state budget from a two-thirds to simple majority, which is what allowed Democratic lawmakers to approve a budget this year without any Republican support.

The measure also included a provision docking lawmakers’ pay for every day beyond the constitutional deadline of June 15 that a budget was not approved.

Gatto was among the lawmakers, including several Republicans, who questioned whether it is proper for Chiang or anyone in the executive branch to wield the power of the checkbook to influence the legislative process.

A spokesman for Chiang’s office dismissed those concerns.

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