Richard Gonzales

Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.

Gonzales joined NPR in May 1986. He covered the U.S. State Department during the Iran-Contra Affair and the fall of apartheid in South Africa. Four years later, he assumed the post of White House Correspondent and reported on the prelude to the Gulf War and President George W. Bush's unsuccessful re-election bid. Gonzales covered the U.S. Congress for NPR from 1993-94, focusing on NAFTA and immigration and welfare reform.

In September 1995, Gonzales moved to his current position after spending a year as a John S. Knight Fellow Journalism at Stanford University.

In 2009, Gonzales won the Broadcast Journalism Award from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. He also received the PASS Award in 2004 and 2005 from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency for reports on California's juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.

Prior to NPR, Gonzales was a freelance producer at public television station KQED in San Francisco. From 1979 to 1985, he held positions as a reporter, producer, and later, public affairs director at KPFA, a radio station in Berkeley, CA.

Gonzales graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor's degree in psychology and social relations. He is a co-founder of Familias Unidas, a bi-lingual social services program in his hometown of Richmond, California.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: The weekend fire at a warehouse party in Oakland, Calif., has claimed more than 30 lives, and that's just the count up to now. RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Local officials say they don't know how many more bodies they'll find as the recovery effort enters its third day. NPR's Richard Gonzales reports. RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: To say there is profound grief in Oakland is to do little justice to the depth of emotions as...

Americans continue to be divided along partisan lines over Obamacare, with an overwhelming percentage of Democrats favoring it and an equal share of Republicans having unfavorable views, according to a newly released Kaiser Family Foundation poll . But when it comes to an actual gutting of Obamacare, there's doesn't appear to be a lot of support. One-fourth, or 26 percent, of Americans favor a full repeal of the health care law, while 17 percent say scale it back, according to the Kaiser poll...

The election of Donald Trump has sent shock waves through civil rights organizations, including among LGBT activists. They say they fear a rollback in the progress their movement made during the Obama administration. Meanwhile, opponents of gay and lesbian rights also see a shift coming with the Trump administration. For the past several years, conservatives in the culture wars — those who have felt that their views on same-sex marriage, for example, were under attack — now say they have...

Updated at 1 a.m. ET The Chicago Cubs, ending a championship drought that has lasted 108 years, beat the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field in Cleveland. They did it the hard way, too, coming back from a 3-1 game deficit, winning three straight games, including the last two on the road in Cleveland. And it took ten innings to win it all in Game 7. The Cubs are the first team since the 1985 Kansas City Royals to claw back from a 3-1 deficit in the...

In California, the city of Oakland was the first to regulate and tax medical marijuana dispensaries. Now, some city leaders see the industry's profits and are proposing to take a bigger piece of the action. The Oakland City Council is voting later this month on a pot profit-taking plan. Harborside Health Center in Oakland is the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the nation. Its executive director, Steve DeAngelo, says his dispensary brings in about $30 million in annual revenues. "We've...

Updated at 11:30 p.m. ET The Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians 5-1 in Game 2 of the World Series. The best-of-seven Series is tied one game apiece as the action moves to Chicago for Game 3 on Friday. Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta disarmed the Indians' batters, holding them hitless until the sixth inning, when they scored their only run. The Indians stranded two runners in the seventh inning, a runner in the eighth inning and another in the ninth. But they never mounted a real...

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has launched an investigation into allegations that Wells Fargo & Co. engaged in criminal identity theft when the bank created millions of accounts without customer consent, according to the Los Angeles Times . The report is based on a search warrant , served on Oct. 5 and first obtained by the Times , in which Harris' office demands the identities and account information of California customers who had "any accounts, credit cards, life insurance, or...

The Obama administration is announcing a series of recommendations for ensuring the safety of the nation's more than 400 underground natural gas storage wells. The report comes as a result of the natural gas leak in Porter Ranch, a Los Angeles neighborhood, one year ago. It says the leak at the Aliso Canyon plant was the largest methane release from a natural gas storage facility in U.S. history. Some 8,000 families were displaced after complaining of headaches, nosebleeds and nausea. The...

Retired Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright pleaded guilty to a single count of making false statements to federal authorities. The investigators were looking into a leak of classified information about a secret cyberattack on Iran's nuclear facilities. The plea came in a brief appearance in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. According to The Associated Press , Cartwright could face a maximum of five years in prison but prosecutors and defense counsel have agreed on a recommended sentence of...

Updated at 6:15pm ET with Wells Fargo statement. The chairman and chief executive of Wells Fargo & Co., John Stumpf, has resigned effective immediately in the aftermath of a scandal over the bank's past practice of secretly selling services to unsuspecting customers. Stumpf will be replaced by President and Chief Operating Officer Timothy Sloan, long considered to be Stumpf's eventual successor. Wells Fargo has been hammered in recent weeks by critics who say the bank unfairly took advantage...

Federal prosecutors will charge Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio with criminal contempt of court for violating a judge's order to stop immigration patrols that led to a court finding of racial profiling. The controversial sheriff is expected to be officially charged on Wednesday. If he is convicted of misdemeanor contempt, the 84-year-old Arpaio could face up to six months in jail. The court set a tentative trial date of Dec. 6. The charge is the latest development in a long-running legal...

Updated at 7:00pm ET with sanctions threatened against Russia The United States has officially blamed Russia for the hacking of computers of the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations, and it accused Moscow of trying to interfere with this year's election process. The charge came in a strongly worded statement released by the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Friday. "The U.S. intelligence community is confident...

As a young boy, Polish-born Yisrael Kristal looked forward to turning 13 when he could celebrate his bar mitzvah, the Jewish coming-of-age ritual. But that was 1916 and World War I crushed that hope. Little did he know that he would wait a century for that ceremony. Kristal barely survived the next world war as a prisoner in Auschwitz. After WWII, he rebuilt his life in Israel, raising a family and opening a business. Earlier this year, he was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world...

Six years ago, Marine Sgt. John Peck had all four of his limbs blown off by an explosion in Afghanistan. Today, thanks to a double arm transplant, he is talking about the miracle of holding his fiancee's hand and feeling the pressure when she squeezes. "That truly is a special gift," the retired Marine told reporters at a news conference at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Peck, 31, underwent a 14-hour surgery in August, performed by a team of 60 doctors, nurses and other medical...

Pope Francis has made good on a promise to go to the central Italian region hardest hit by the devastating earthquake that struck in August. He arrived Tuesday without warning to console survivors and urge them to press forward. According to the Associated Press , the pontiff hoped to keep his visit low-key, so it wasn't announced until after he had already arrived in Amatrice, the town devastated by the magnitude 6.2 earthquake that killed almost 300 people and left an additional 4,000...

The United States announced it is suspending efforts to revive a cease-fire in Syria, blaming Russia's support for a new round of airstrikes in the city of Aleppo. As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, "The U.S. was offering to cooperate with Russia in the fight against extremists in Syria, but only if Russia used its influence with Bashar Assad's regime in Damascus to ground the Syrian air force. The State Department says Russia failed to live up to its commitment, so the U.S. is suspending the...

The city of San Francisco is in a quandary. Like many big cities, it faces an affordability crisis, and city leaders are looking for a way to build housing to help low- and middle-income residents stay there. But one proposal to give current residents of a historically African-American neighborhood help to do that has run afoul of the Obama administration. Consider the case of Mack Watson. At 96, he is a vision of elegance in his freshly pressed ribbon collar shirt, vest and sports coat. He...

Summarizing its investigation of Edward Snowden, the House Intelligence Committee says the former National Security Agency contractor did tremendous damage to the U.S. The committee published the summary findings of a two-year investigation today as a new film about Snowden opens across the country. Snowden stole 1.5 million classified government documents that he had access to as an NSA contractor. He then fled to Russia via Hong Kong. As NPR's David Welna reports, Most major congressional...

Southern California Gas Co. has agreed to pay $4 million to settle a case in which it faced a criminal charge associated with its handling of a massive gas leak in Porter Ranch, an affluent neighborhood of Los Angeles, last year. The utility pleaded no contest to a single misdemeanor count for failing to immediately report the gas leak to state officials as required by law when it occurred on Oct. 23, 2015. Instead the company waited three days before alerting state emergency officials. "This...

Former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who turned 93 last month, suffered a stroke and was rushed to a hospital in Tel Aviv, according to representatives from his office. They issued this brief statement Tuesday: "The office of the 9th president wishes to update that the 9th president Shimon Peres has been hospitalized in the Tel Hashomer hospital after suffering a stroke. His condition is stable and he is fully conscious. He is receiving appropriate medical treatment." A...

Luis Videgaray, Mexico's M.I.T.-educated minister of finance and confidant of President Enrique Peña Nieto, has resigned in a move widely seen as fallout from Donald Trump's visit to that country last week. Peña Nieto made the announcement in Mexico City, but he gave no reason for the change, nor did he say whether Videgaray, a key aide since 2005, would receive a new post. According to the Associated Press , Videgaray was the "architect" of Trump's visit to Mexico. The Republican...

Chicago cemented its reputation as the murder capital of the country with 13 fatal shootings over the Labor Day weekend, bringing the city's annual toll to at least 500 killings. That's more homicides this year than the nation's two largest cities — New York and Los Angeles — combined. The bloody weekend capped off a particularly violent month of August, in which 92 people died — the most in a single month since August 1993, according to USA Today . That publication added these grim...

In a brief and surprising statement , Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown announced he is ending his 33-year career as a member of his city's police force. Brown is perhaps best known for leading his department in the aftermath of the slaying of five Dallas police officers by a disgruntled war veteran on July 7. "Let's always remember the fallen officers including the five officers on July 7, 2016, and the brave men and women of the Dallas Police Department for their sacrifices to keep Dallas...

The California Assembly unanimously passed a measure that requires a prison sentence for anyone convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious person. The 66-0 vote comes after a six-month jail sentence (and three years' probation) imposed in June by Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky on former Stanford student Brock Turner. He had been convicted earlier in the year of three felony counts of sexually assaulting an intoxicated and unconscious woman at a fraternity party. That sentence was...

Newly released government data paint a sobering picture of safety on the nation's roads and highways. In 2015, the number of people who died in auto accidents reached 35,092, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a 7.2% increase over 2014. The last time there was such a large single-year increase was back in 1966 when Lyndon Johnson was president. "Despite decades of safety improvements, far too many people are killed on our nation's roads every year," Transportation...

The California judge who is subject to a recall campaign after imposing a six-month jail sentence on a former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexual assault has been reassigned at his own request from criminal to civil court. Aaron Persky, a Superior Court judge in Palo Alto, will move to a courthouse in downtown San Jose, effective Sept. 6. The change was announced in a statement issued by the presiding judge of Santa Clara Superior Court, Rise Jones Pichon: "While I firmly believe in Judge...

The National Labor Relations Board ruled 3-1 Tuesday that graduate students working as teaching or research assistants at private universities are employees with the right to collective bargaining. The decision comes in response to a petition filed by the Graduate Workers of Columbia-GWC and the United Autoworkers Union, which has been seeking to represent grad student assistants at Columbia University. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports that "only a small fraction of graduate students at public...

In a major victory for teachers unions in California, the state Supreme Court has upheld teacher tenure laws. By a 4-3 vote, a divided court decided not to hear Vergara vs. California, a case challenging state tenure laws. That case, brought on behalf of several public school students in Southern California, was backed by a nonprofit group calling itself Students Matter , founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch. The group opposed teacher tenure, arguing that it disproportionately...

A microscopic parasite is ravaging the fish population of the Yellowstone River in Montana prompting state officials to ban water-based recreation along a 183-mile stretch of the river and all of its tributaries. The state's Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced the closure, which extends from Yellowstone National Park's northern boundary at Gardiner to the Highway 212 bridge in Laurel. In a statement department officials said, "This action is necessary to protect the fishery and...

Cathy Lanier, the first woman to lead the Metropolitan Police Department for the District of Columbia, announced that she will step down next month to take a new job as the head of security for the National Football League. The announcement came in a news conference by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. "The NFL is getting a good one here," said Bowser. In a statement announcing Lanier's hire, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said she will supervise all operations and activities of the league's security...

Pages