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.

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Around the Nation
3:03 am
Fri November 15, 2013

With Robberies Up, Oakland Residents Turn To Private Cops

Security officer Steven Long patrols the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood in Oakland, Calif. With city police struggling to control crime, several neighborhoods have hired private security to patrol local streets.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 12:16 pm

The city of Oakland, Calif., is in the middle of a robbery epidemic. In response, some residents in several Oakland neighborhoods are taking matters into their own hands, hiring private security companies to patrol their neighborhoods.

Overall, robberies in Oakland are up 24 percent over the past year, with armed robberies up 45 percent. Since the recession dried up local tax revenues, the Oakland Police Department has been hamstrung by the loss of more than 200 officers and can't respond to all the calls it receives for help.

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U.S. Commutes: The Way We Get To Work
3:23 am
Wed November 13, 2013

How A Free Bus Shuttle Helped Make A Small Town Take Off

There were 1.5 million boardings on the Emery Go Round last year. Zikhona Tetana, a visiting scientist from South Africa, is taking the Emery Go Round to a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory facility in Emeryville. "It's convenient and always on time," she says.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 3:18 pm

This story is part of an ongoing project on commuting in America.

What's known as the "last mile" of a commute can be the Holy Grail for many city transportation planners. How do you get people from their major mode of transportation – like a train station – to their final destination?

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Around the Nation
5:01 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

San Franciscans Nix Waterfront Development Plans

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 6:21 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The subject of affordability in American cities came up in a referendum yesterday in San Francisco. Voters rejected measures that would have given a green light to a major luxury condo development. The city is enjoying a construction boom. And some San Franciscans saw this vote as a fight over the kind of city they want.

Here's NPR's Richard Gonzales.

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U.S.
5:12 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Police, Community Relations Strained After Teen's Death

Hundreds of protesters march toward the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office in response to the death of Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa.
Noah Berger Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 9:43 am

Sonoma County, Calif., is probably best known for its good wine, green sensibilities and otherwise healthy and peaceful living. But that peace was shattered last week when a county sheriff's deputy shot and killed a young teenager carrying a toy gun.

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Law
5:15 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

How A County Clerk Ignited The Gay Marriage Debate In N.M.

Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins talks with Thom Hinks and Richard Sunman (far right) after they obtained a marriage license at the Dona Ana County Clerk's Office in Las Cruces, N.M. In August, Ellins' office began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Juan Carlos Llorca AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 12:51 pm

New Mexico law doesn't explicitly ban or approve same-sex marriage. There were a spate of lawsuits seeking to clarify the issue, but they were tied up in the courts. Then in August, the clerk of Dona Ana County, Lynn Ellins, a long-time supporter of same-sex marriage, consulted his staff.

"And we all agreed that it was about time to bring this thing to a head, and if we did nothing, the cases would languish in the district court if we did not move to issue these licenses and try and put the ball in play," Ellins says.

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Politics
4:20 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

California Won't Wait For Congress On Immigration Reform

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 11:56 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In other immigration news, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a measure that makes it harder for federal immigration officials to detain people believed to be in this country illegally. The new state law, called the Trust Act, restricts local police from holding undocumented immigrants without serious criminal records and turning them over to immigration authorities. NPR's Richard Gonzales reports.

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Sports
5:06 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Oracle Team USA Defeats New Zealand To Win America's Cup

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 5:28 am

Oracle Team USA completed a remarkable comeback to win the America's Cup regatta, winning eight straight races. The American team, backed by Silicon Valley billionaire Larry Ellison, beat Emirates Team New Zealand. Just a few days ago, the American team trailed the Kiwis, and were on the brink of being eliminated from the competition.

Sports
5:30 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

In Comeback, Oracle Team USA Wins America's Cup

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 6:03 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Sports
4:27 am
Wed September 18, 2013

U.S. Team Must Rally To Win America's Cup

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 5:25 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, the America's Cup is in its final days and it doesn't look good for the home team. Team USA has been looking better lately but still trails, seven-to-one. Even if the Americans stage a comeback, the regatta will likely be remembered for failing to live up to its hype.

NPR's Richard Gonzales reports.

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Business
5:18 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Calif. City Proposes Unique Plan To Avoid Foreclosures

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 6:09 am

A federal judge in San Francisco on Thursday hears arguments over a radical plan to stem the foreclosure crisis. The City of Richmond is proposing to buy underwater mortgages in order to help keep local residents in their homes. If banks don't want to sell those mortgages, the city says it is prepared to invoke eminent domain to seize the mortgages.

U.S.
5:04 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Bay Bridge Reopens After Troubled Makeover

San Francisco's Bay Bridge is open again, after being closed over the weekend to allow the last phase of a retrofitting project to finish up. While commuters are celebrating the bridge's return, the project was a lesson in cost overruns and delays.

Business
5:13 am
Tue August 20, 2013

SEC Bans Falcone From Trading For 5 Years

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 5:40 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Back in this country, a major hedge fund manager, Philip Falcone and his company, Harbinger Capital Partners, have agreed to pay $18 million to settle charges over the improper use of his company's money.

As NPR's Richard Gonzales reports, Falcone is also barred from the securities industry for five years.

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U.S.
2:56 am
Tue August 20, 2013

One By One, California Agents Track Down Illegally Owned Guns

Firearms seized during a sweep by the Los Angeles Police Department using the California's Armed Prohibited Persons System initiative. The program uses a database to identify gun owners who are no longer allowed to possess a firearm.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 8:57 am

In California, officials are ramping up a unique program that identifies and seizes guns from people who are prohibited from keeping them. Under state law, a legally registered gun owner loses the right to own a firearm when he or she is convicted of a crime or becomes mentally ill.

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Law
5:06 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Holder Proposes Reducing Minimum Sentences For Drug Offenses

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 6:03 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder outlined federal steps to cut long prison sentences for some drug offenders. In a speech before the American Bar Association, Holder said the change is necessary to curb growing incarceration costs and to make the justice system more fair.

Code Switch
5:13 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Oakland Braces For Seeing Subway Shooting On The Big Screen

Cephus "Bobby" Johnson in 2011, when the former transit officer who shot Johnson's nephew, Oscar Grant, was released from jail. Johnson and other family members have seen Fruitvale Station, a new feature film depicting the shooting, multiple times.
Jason Redmond AP

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 5:00 pm

It's not often that Oakland, Calif., hosts a movie opening. But there is plenty of anticipation for Fruitvale Station.

The film is about the life and death of Oscar Grant, a young black man who was fatally shot in the back by a white transit police officer in the early morning hours of New Year's Day in 2009.

Grant was killed by Officer Johannes Mehserle, who claimed to have been reaching for his Taser, not his handgun. Mehserle was tried and convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served 11 months of a two-year term.

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Around the Nation
4:32 am
Wed July 10, 2013

In Last Seconds, Pilots Were Correcting Plane's Problems

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 8:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We know a few things about what went wrong when Asiana flight 214 clipped a sea wall and crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday. The Boeing 777 from Seoul, South Korea was flying too low and too slow as it made a descent into San Francisco. That accident left two teenage girls dead and scores more with serious injuries.

Federal investigators have interviewed the cockpit crew and yesterday they released new details about problems the crew had in the final seconds before impact. NPR's Richard Gonzales reports.

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NPR Story
5:01 am
Tue July 9, 2013

First Responders Hailed As Heroes After Plane Crash

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 6:07 am

Investigators in San Francisco are poring over the wreckage of Asiana Airlines Flight 214. Two people were killed on Saturday when the plane crash-landed. Firefighters positioned themselves to knock down most of the fire in the fuselage with foam.

Around the Nation
4:45 am
Mon July 8, 2013

NTSB Investigators Probe Clues Of Asiana Flight 214 Crash

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 5:02 am

More details are emerging about the crash of Asiana flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday that killed two people. The Boeing 777 jet nearly stalled on its approach to land, and the flight crew tried to take corrective action just seconds before it hit the ground. There's also word the pilot, while having extensive flying experience, had only 43 hours on the 777.

NPR Story
6:41 am
Sun July 7, 2013

Crash At San Francisco Airport Kills Two

Originally published on Sun July 7, 2013 2:21 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Around the Nation
5:09 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Transit Strike Sends Commuters Scrambling In San Francisco

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 8:12 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For two days now, about 400,000 commuters in the San Francisco Bay Area have had to find an alternate way to get around. Workers for the area's rail system are on strike. The dispute at Bay Area Rapid Transit, or BART, is over pay, benefit and safety issues. Employees walked off the job early Monday morning as their contract expired. For now, NPR's Richard Gonzales reports that most travelers are taking the disruption in stride.

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