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.

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.

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.

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.

Immigration is an intricate part of the history of the United States. But in 2012, a new trend appeared: juveniles traveling alone showed up at the border in huge numbers.

President Obama became alarmed, and two years later visited Central America and the border to send a message of deterrence to parents and minors who were planning to make the journey north.

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.

At the corner of 18th and Castro in San Francisco's predominantly gay Castro district, there's an impromptu memorial for the Orlando, Fla., shooting victims: candles, flowers and signs that read "Love Conquers Hate" and "You Only Make Us Stronger."

Daniel Kobetitisch, a student, solemnly watches the memorial for several minutes.

"I think it's such a horrific event, and unfortunately it scares us all, so," he says.

That fear, he says, extends to his plans to attend San Francisco's Pride Parade in two weeks. Kobetitisch says he'll be there, but with some hesitation.

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

Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET

Two gunmen opened fire in a central Tel Aviv food and retail center, killing four people Wednesday evening in what Israeli police say was a terrorist attack.

NPR's Emily Harris reports that Israeli medical authorities say that another four people were wounded. Local police tell Emily that two men were apprehended in the attack. Both are Palestinians in their 20s. They are cousins, according to the police, and from the same town near Hebron in the West Bank.

Police in Michigan have arrested a man suspected of plowing his pickup truck into a group of bicyclists, killing five of them and seriously injuring four others Tuesday evening in Cooper Township.

The driver left the scene, but a suspect, described as a 50-year old man, was apprehended a short while later, according to law enforcement.

The names and ages of the victims have not been released. All were reportedly adults.

Washington, D.C., will be the next major city to implement a $15 minimum wage rate following a unanimous vote Tuesday by its city council.

In a victory for local and national labor unions, Washington joins the ranks of cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle in raising wages for primarily lower-income workers in restaurants, retail and other service industries.

The District's current hourly minimum wage is $10.50, and it was scheduled to go up to $11.50 next month under a law enacted in 2014.

In what's being called perhaps the biggest sports auction in history, Brazilian soccer legend Pele is auctioning off his collection of memorabilia and awards collected over more than five decades.

The three-day auction of more than 2,000 items started Tuesday in London by the Los Angeles-based Julien's Auctions and is expected to bring in millions of dollars. Pele said in a statement that a portion of the proceeds are to go to Pequeno Principe, the largest children's hospital in Brazil.

Swiss voters over the weekend dealt a stern backslap to a ballot proposal that would have guaranteed a basic monthly income for all 8.1 million residents — regardless of their employment status — of that wealthy European nation.

The vote wasn't even close. Almost 77 percent of voters rejected the proposal that the government give every adult in Switzerland about $2,500 every month. (Children would have received a smaller subsidy of $650.)