Kirk Siegler

Kirk Siegler is a reporter for NPR's National Desk. In this role he covers Southern California and the West from NPR West's studios in Culver City, CA.

Since joining the national desk in December of 2012, Siegler has covered everything from a dock worker strike at the nation's largest port to an unprecedented manhunt for an ex-LAPD officer wanted for a string of vengeance killings. He's also contributed extensively to the network's coverage on the ongoing national conversation about guns; assignments that have taken him from Newtown, CT, to an inner-city Los Angeles hospital's trauma ward, to rural Wyoming.

Siegler has won numerous Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press Awards for his coverage of Environmental, Political and Business issues in Montana and Colorado. Siegler was a 2010 Science Literacy Project fellow at the University of California-Berkeley and most recently he completed the 2012 Knight/MIT "Food Boot Camp" Fellowship.

Prior to joining NPR, Siegler spent seven years reporting from Colorado, where he became a familiar voice to NPR listeners reporting from Denver for NPR Member Station KUNC. He also spent two years as a reporter and news director at Aspen Public Radio. Siegler got his start in reporting in 2003 covering the Montana Legislature for Montana Public Radio.

Siegler has spent much of his adult life living in the West. He grew up in Missoula, MT and received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He is an avid skier and enjoys traveling and visiting his family scattered across the globe.

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U.S.
3:53 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

As Immigration Crisis Grows, A Protest Movement Gains Steam

In Oracle, Ariz., on Tuesday, protesters gather near the entrance to a juvenile facility in an effort to stop the arrival of a busload of Central American immigrant children. The bus never arrived.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 10:01 pm

Anti-illegal immigration activists are planning several hundred protests in cities across the country on Friday and Saturday, part of a growing backlash against the federal government's efforts to temporarily house migrant children detained at the border.

Protesters say they are concerned about safety, as the Obama administration pushes to move detainees from Texas to shelters run by nonprofits in other states.

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Business
3:59 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Picketing Truckers Raise Tensions At LA Port Amid Dockworker Talks

Picketers supporting independent truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach stand outside a container terminal.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 6:04 pm

Labor tensions are high at the largest port complex in the country — Los Angeles and Long Beach — which handles nearly half of all the cargo coming into the United States.

Short-haul truck drivers are striking. They're the independent, contract truckers who bring the containers off the ships to nearby warehouses for companies like Wal-Mart and Costco. At the twin ports, their numbers hover around 10,000.

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Business
4:29 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Truckers Strike At 2 Calif. Ports, Larger Labor Dispute Looms

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 9:04 am

Independent truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are on strike against three large trucking firms that operate at the ports.

Handling almost half of all the nation's cargo, the ports of Los Angles and Long Beach are the main gateway for imports from Asia.

A lot of the shipping containers end up on these idling trucks. The short-haul truckers bring the goods from here to nearby rail yards and distribution centers for companies like Costco, Forever 21 and Skechers.

"We're in this to win," says truck driver Byron Contrerras.

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U.S.
4:05 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Increasing Use Of Oil Trains Inspires Backlash From States

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 11:18 am

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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It's All Politics
9:46 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Calif. Town Thrusts Heated Immigration Debate Into National Spotlight

Human-rights activist Enrique Morones, at podium, speaks during a rally in support of immigrants on Wednesday in San Diego. A group of about 70 people rallied in support of migrant children and families Wednesday, a day after U.S. Homeland Security buses carrying the migrants were routed away from American flag-waving protesters in Murrieta, Calif., and transported to a facility in San Diego.
Gregory Bull AP

Originally published on Fri July 4, 2014 12:49 pm

As the saying goes, all politics is local. And that couldn't have been clearer this week in and around Murrieta, Calif., a sleepy conservative enclave 60 miles north of San Diego.

Local leaders here made a loud stand against the planned movement of immigrant detainees to their city from overcrowded U.S. Border Patrol stations in Texas — and in the process rather purposefully thrust their city into the national political spotlight.

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Around the Nation
3:09 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Immigration Debate Splits California City In Two

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 5:26 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Around the Nation
3:06 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Tensions Eddy In Murrieta After Protesters Turn Back Buses Of Migrants

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 6:20 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Around the Nation
5:52 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Calif. Lawmakers To Debate Controversial Gun-Control Bill

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 9:10 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I am Renee Montagne. Here in California today, a controversial gun control bill gets its first hearing. It was introduced in the wake of last month's mass murder near the campus of UC Santa Barbara. NPR's Kirk Siegler reports.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: When California lawmakers began debate today, expect the case of Elliott Rodger to come back into focus.

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Around the Nation
3:42 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Tensions Still High In 'Nevada Land' Over Cattle Dispute

Rancher Cliven Bundy stands near a gate on his 160-acre ranch in Bunkerville, Nev., the site of a standoff with the government last month. If the federal government comes back, Bundy promises, his militia supporters will also return in force.
Mike Blake Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 7:51 am

Cliven Bundy's ranch is just a few miles off Interstate 15 in southern Nevada, near the tiny town of Bunkerville. The dirt road that gets you there snakes through a hot and forlorn patch of desert. You know you've found it when you see a spray-painted sign for Bundy Melons.

"What we say is, we raise cows and melons and kids. That's what we do here," says Bundy, smiling as he hoses down a dusty sidewalk that leads into the family's ranch house.

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Law
3:00 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Las Vegas Shooting Returns Police Attention To Bundy's Ranch

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 5:24 pm

Las Vegas police are now confirming that law enforcement officials made three prior contacts with the suspects of a recent shooting spree that left five people dead, including two police officers. Authorities found no indication during those visits that Jerad Miller and his wife, Amanda, planned to carry out violence. The couple's anti-government and anti-law enforcement sentiments continue to be the focus of the investigation.

Politics
2:46 am
Tue June 10, 2014

In Booming San Jose, Businesses Settle Into A Minimum Wage Hike

Chuck Hammers, owner of Pizza My Heart in San Jose, Calif., raised prices on slices by 25 cents and pies by about $1 after the minimum wage increase, and says he hasn't experienced a drop in business.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 8:33 am

It's been a little more than a year since San Jose, Calif., increased the city's minimum wage by $2 per hour, with adjustments for inflation. Now at $10.15 an hour, it's one of the state's highest.

Back in 2012, as voters were debating the wage hike, some in the restaurant and hospitality industry warned that an increase would be bad for the sector. It would deter new businesses from opening, they said, and would cause existing businesses to slash hours for employees.

So how are San Jose's businesses faring today? The answer is, it depends.

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Around the Nation
3:06 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

In Las Vegas Shootings, Some Suspect Roots In Anti-Government Militias

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 5:42 pm

A married couple apparently killed two police officers and another woman in Las Vegas. The husband and wife, also killed in the shooting, appear to have held anti-government and anti-law enforcement views.

Shots - Health News
2:03 am
Thu May 29, 2014

The Divide Over Involuntary Mental Health Treatment

Involuntary commitment to a hospital for mental illness can be a lengthy and complex process. A California law makes mandatory outpatient treatment an option.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 12:19 pm

The attacks near the University of California, Santa Barbara, are renewing focus on programs aimed at requiring treatment for people who are mentally ill as a way to prevent mass shootings and other violence.

In California, a 2002 law allows authorities to require outpatient mental health care for people who have been refusing it. Proponents argue that this kind of intervention could prevent violent acts.

But counties within the state have been slow to adopt the legislation, and mental health professionals are divided over its effects.

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Around the Nation
6:49 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Retiring Columbine Principal Turned Guilt Into Action

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 1:09 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Today is Graduation Day at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. And, of course, it will be an emotional time for the school's principal, Frank DeAngelis. He'll be giving his final sendoff to a senior class. Mr. DeAngelis is retiring at the end of this school year. He's one of just a few staffers who stayed on at Columbine after the 1999 mass shootings there. Fifteen people died, including the two gunmen, who were also students. As NPR's Kirk Siegler reports, the massacre and the school's response to it defined Mr. DeAngelis's career.

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Environment
3:11 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Ahead Of Wildfire Season, Scientists Study What Fuels Fires

A lab technician lighting a fire in a wind tunnel at a fire lab in Riverside, Calif.
Sean Nealon University of California, Riverside

Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 6:00 pm

As fire managers in the drought-stricken Southwest gear up for another long and expensive wildfire season, federal fire scientists are trying to better understand the physics behind what makes blazes spread.

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Race
2:19 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Sterling's Tarnished History Of Alleged Discrimination

LeBron James of the Miami Heat wears black socks to protest Clippers owner Donald Sterling during the Heat's playoff game Monday against the Charlotte Bobcats. Stars throughout the NBA have offered bitter rebukes of Sterling.
Streeter Lecka Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 11:52 am

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been at the heart of racial controversies before.

Sterling, one of the longest-tenured owners of an NBA franchise, is alleged to have made racist comments in an audio tape that was first posted by the celebrity gossip site TMZ.

He is also a prominent real estate mogul in LA who, ironically, has been honored for his philanthropy by the local NAACP.

The NBA says it will announce findings Tuesday afternoon from its investigation into the controversy.

A Fortune In Real Estate

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The Salt
2:26 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Fields And Farm Jobs Dry Up With California's Worsening Drought

Recent rains kept Suzanne and Mike Collins' orange grove alive, but the rainy season is ending. If they don't get federal irrigation water by this summer, their trees will start dying.
Kirk Siegler/NPR

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 5:47 pm

On a recent afternoon on the main drag of Orange Cove, Calif., about a dozen farm workers gather on the sidewalk in front of a mini-mart.

One man sits on a milk crate sipping a beer. A few others scratch some lotto tickets. Salvador Perez paces back and forth with his hands stuffed in the pockets of his jeans.

If there is no water, there's no work, he says in Spanish.

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Around the Nation
2:39 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Watchdog's New Target: Embattled LA Sheriff's Department

Prosecutor Max Huntsman delivers his closing arguments in the corruption trial of Angela Spaccia, the former city manager of Bell, Calif., in November. Huntsman's new challenge is to monitor the scandal-ridden LA County Sheriff's Department.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 12:59 pm

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is one of the nation's most troubled law enforcement agencies.

Eighteen current and former deputies are facing felony charges as part of a federal probe into allegations of widespread prisoner abuse in county jails. The federal government is also investigating alleged cases of deputies on patrol using excessive force during routine traffic stops, and targeting blacks and Latinos.

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Environment
3:07 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Unlikely Partnerships Spring From California Water Crisis

As California farms struggle amid intense drought, farmers are pressing the federal government to help solve a water crisis.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 6:13 pm

At a recent rally in Fresno County, Calif., farmers in plaid shirts stood side by side with migrant farmworkers in ball caps, holding signs that read "sin agua, no futuro" and "no water, no food." Fresno is the top agriculture-producing county in the U.S., with more than $6 billion in annual sales.

Protesters argued that farms could go out of business without more water, and there would be mass layoffs. That rhetoric may be familiar, but the two groups' alliance is decidedly unusual.

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Around the Nation
6:52 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Argument May Have Led To Fort Hood Shooting

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 10:18 am

Officials at Fort Hood, Texas, are investigating an argument that may have led to a shooting spree there this week. They are moving away from a focus on the suspect's mental health issues.

News
3:45 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

In Wake Of Fort Hood Shooting, Attention Turns To Base Security

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 5:18 pm

While it appears the 2009 attack at Fort Hood was different in many ways from what occurred Wednesday, the latest attack is focusing attention again on security measures there. Meanwhile, we are learning more about the alleged shooter, Specialist Ivan Lopez.

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

The Salt
3:31 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Nevada Farmers Hack The Drought By Switching Up The Crops

An alfalfa farmer on the Duck Valley Reservation in Nevada laser levels a field to more evenly and efficiently distribute water. While alfalfa is still the main crop for many farmers in northern Nevada, some are experimenting with grapes, too.
USDAgov/Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 11:25 am

Take a drive around the perimeter of Colby Frey's farm in Nevada and it's clear you're kind of on an island — an oasis of green surrounded by a big, dusty desert.

Nearby, a neighbor's farm has recently gone under. And weeds have taken over an abandoned farmhouse in the next property over.

"It's just kind of sad, because it seems like it's kind of slowly creeping towards us," says Frey, a fifth-generation farmer trying to adapt to the current drought in California and in the far West.

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Around the Nation
4:17 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Calif. Fight Over Concealed Weapons Could Head To High Court

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that San Diego County's restrictions on concealed carry permits are unconstitutional. The case could have national implications.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 4:24 am

California is shaping up to be the next major battleground over the Second Amendment, as gun rights activists in the nation's most populous state push for loosening concealed carry laws.

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The Salt
2:21 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Drought Could Dry Up Nevada Dairy Farmers' Expansion Plans

There are about 2,000 dairy cows on Pete Olsen's fifth-generation farm in northern Nevada. A new milk processing plant is now putting pressure on Olsen and other dairy farmers to expand the size of their herds. But with the ongoing drought, farmers are struggling to get enough feed for the cows they already have.
Kirk Siegler/NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 2:13 pm

When Pete Olsen talks about drought on his fifth-generation dairy farm in Fallon, Nev., he's really talking about the snowpack 60 miles to the west in the Sierra Nevada.

The Sierras, Olsen says, are their lifeblood.

That is, the snowmelt from them feeds the Truckee and Carson rivers and a tangle of reservoirs and canals that make this desert bloom. Some of the highest-grade alfalfa in the world is grown here. And it makes perfect feed for dairy cows, because it's rich in nutrients.

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Around the Nation
2:44 am
Wed February 19, 2014

LA Mayor: 'The Basics Have Been Neglected For Too Long'

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti may have only been in office eight months, but he's got big plans.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 6:37 am

Los Angeles may be known for its celebrities, glitz and glam, but the city's mayor, Eric Garcetti, is focused on something decidedly less flashy: infrastructure.

Take the city's airport LAX, for example. You'd be forgiven for mistaking its terminals for a cramped bus station. And stepping out onto the curb can feel like an assault on the senses, with the horns, aggressive shuttle drivers and travelers jostling for taxis.

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