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.

Two Fox News insiders have been tapped to fill the shoes of outgoing Chairman and Chief Executive Roger Ailes, who was forced to resign as a result of allegations he sexually harassed a former female news anchor.

Just 12 years ago, researchers feared that the California Island fox, a species about the size of a cat inhabiting a group of islands off the Southern California coast, was toast. Non-native predators and pesticides had dramatically reduced their ranks. The few that remained were placed on the endangered species list.

The murder trial of the man accused of killing Kate Steinle, whose 2015 shooting death on a San Francisco pier became part of the national debate over illegal immigration and sanctuary city policies, is not likely to start until next year.

Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who had been deported back to his native Mexico five times before the July 1, 2015, shooting, will have his trial date set in December of this year.

A federal jury found Pacific Gas and Electric Company guilty on five felony counts of failing to adequately inspect its gas pipelines before the blast that incinerated a neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., in September 2010. The utility was also found guilty of one count of misleading federal investigators about the standard it used to identify high-risk pipelines.

PG&E was acquitted on six other charges of violating pipeline safety laws.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's bid for a reduction in his 14-year sentence for corruption was rejected today by a federal judge in Chicago. U.S. District Judge James Zagel upheld the sentence despite pleas for leniency from the disgraced ex-governor, his wife and two daughters.

Judge Zagel, acknowledged Blagojevich's family, saying "I am sympathetic to ... how painful this situation is to them. But as I said four years ago, the fault lies with the governor."

Despair no more, fans of Lucille Ball.

A new statue of the queen of comedy will be unveiled this weekend in her a hometown in Celoron, N.Y., and unlike the old one, this one actually looks like the Lucy everyone loves.

The new life-size bronze statue was created by noted sculptor Carolyn Palmer who won a national competition (involving more than 65 sculptors) for the honor of crafting a statue that will be unveiled on Aug. 6. It would have been Ball's 105th birthday.

In an unusual legal action, federal prosecutors in San Francisco drastically cut back the potential criminal penalties they were seeking in the trial of utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric Co. which is accused of violating pipeline safety laws in the wake of the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion. Eight people were incinerated and 38 homes were destroyed in that explosion.

The American bald eagle, once near-extinct, is back with a vengeance. And there's a rar e-- and frankly, brutal — video, perhaps the first ever footage of osprey predation by an eagle in Hog Island, Maine, to prove it.

James O'Neill, the man chosen to replace outgoing New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, has a track record as a law enforcement innovator who is popular with the department's rank and file.

O'Neill's promotion by New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio was announced along with the news that Bratton will step down next month.

Lee Baca, the former Los Angeles County sheriff who had pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about reports of corruption and prisoner abuse in his jail, changed his plea Monday. He backed away from a deal calling for a six-month sentence, which a federal judge has ruled is too lenient.

Baca, 74, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, was the top elected law enforcement official in Los Angeles beginning in 1998. By withdrawing his plea, Baca chose to face trial.

The U.S. Navy plans to honor slain gay rights activist and former San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk by naming a ship after him. The USNS Harvey Milk, which hasn't been built yet, is the latest in a series of Navy vessels named for civil rights icons.

The Obama administration announced today that it is expanding a program that helps Central American refugees, including minors, to reunite with their families in the United States. The effort is designed to discourage people from leaving their homeland and flooding the southern U.S. border, say administration officials.

The program has three components.

Hot gusty winds, bone-dry vegetation and low humidity are combining to whip up a deadly and fast-moving fire in Central California that has now claimed two lives near Lake Isabella, east of Bakersfield.

The fire began Thursday afternoon and soon overwhelmed the estimated 800 firefighters battling the blaze now. Officials say they hope to bring in a total of 1,000 firefighters. More than 1,900 acres have been burned and 100 structures destroyed. Thousands of people have evacuated.

The Brazilian laboratory that was designated to conduct drug testing for the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro has been suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency for not conforming to international standards.

News of the suspension came in a statement issued in Montreal. The decision can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 21 days.

The owner of Orlando's Pulse nightclub, where 49 people were shot and killed on June 12, says she and her staff will host a "Latin Night" street party on Thursday.

"We need to show that we are strong, that Pulse continues and that we appreciate all the help the community has shown us," said Barbara Poma in a statement.

NPR's Cheryl Corley reports the club itself remains closed, so another venue has been chosen:

If you're walking through Times Square and you want to take a picture with a costumed character like, say the Naked Cowboy, just make sure he stays in his box. A big teal-colored rectangular box.

For years, street performers and costumed characters, like Elmo of Sesame Street, have delighted, and sometimes imposed themselves on, tourists and other passersby.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah Sr. of Pennsylvania was found guilty today of multiple counts of racketeering, fraud and money laundering in a case involving his unsuccessful 2007 bid to become mayor of Philadelphia.

The Democratic congressman reacted to the verdict with little more than a smile as he consulted with his attorneys, The Associated Press reported.

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Days after a 2-year-old boy was snatched and drowned by an alligator at a lagoon in Disney World, the company is setting up warning signs alerting people to the potential danger posed by the reptiles.

"We are installing signage and temporary barriers at our resort beach locations and are working on permanent, long-term solutions at our beaches," Jacquee Wahler, vice president of Walt Disney World resort, said in a statement.

The California judge who issued what critics called a lenient sentence to a former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexual assault has been removed from hearing an unrelated sexual assault case.

Days after the deadly mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., the American Medical Association says it is adopting a policy calling gun violence in the U.S. "a public health crisis," and it says it will actively lobby Congress to overturn 20-year-old legislation blocking research on gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The owner of the gun shop where Omar Mateen, the shooter in the Orlando nightclub attack, legally bought two guns called the assailant "an evil person" who had passed a full background check.

Ed Henson, owner of the St. Lucie Shooting Center, held a brief news conference Monday afternoon, saying if Mateen "hadn't purchased them from us, I'm sure he would have gotten them from another local gun store in the area."

Henson said he used to be a New York City police officer, had worked at the twin towers in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and retired in March 2002.

It's a mother's nightmare. She returns home one day and finds no trace of her only child, and the apartment she shares with the 18-month-old boy's father is ransacked. There are no baby clothes, no papers, no photographs, not even an ultrasound image of her son, Steven.

A federal appeals court in California ruled today that local authorities have the right to require people to obtain permits before carrying concealed weapons in public.

It's time to update your copy of the periodic table. Four new elements discovered in recent years have now been named, pending final approval by the international group of scientists in charge of the table.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry has announced these proposed names:

  • Nihonium and symbol Nh, for the element 113
  • Moscovium and symbol Mc, for the element 115
  • Tennessine and symbol Ts, for the element 117