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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The Two-Way
6:47 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

A Top Immigration Judge Calls For Shift On 'Fast-Tracking'

Immigrants board a bus after being released from U.S. Border Patrol detention in Texas last month. An immigration judge says the Obama administration's "fast-tracking" effort means many people go into court without an attorney, opening a door to future problems.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 7:27 pm

As the Obama administration says the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the Southwest border is declining, the White House is being urged to stop fast-tracking their deportation hearings. That call is coming from an unusual source: one of the nation's top immigration judges.

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The Two-Way
8:31 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Killing Of Four Latino Men Sparks Protests In Salinas, Calif.

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 11:22 am

After police in Salinas, Calif., shot and killed four Latino men since March, local authorities are rejecting demands for a federal investigation. Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin told NPR member station KQED that even though his department "has nothing to hide," a federal review would be premature since internal investigations of the shootings are still pending.

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NPR Story
5:00 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Expedited Hearings For Migrant Children Raise Concerns

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 7:14 am

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

Arts & Life
5:42 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Never Tell Them The Odds: Cities Vie To Host 'Star Wars' Collection

While cities are still competing for the not yet built Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, parts of the collection are already on display. The "Star Wars Identities" traveling exhibition, currently at the Cite du Cinema in Saint-Denis, France, features 200 objects from George Lucas' collection — including the costumes of Chewbacca, Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa.
Patrick Kovarik AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 7:12 pm

A short time ago, in a city not far away, Star Wars creator George Lucas decided to build a museum to house his movie memorabilia and his art collection.

There's just one looming question: Where should it go?

Lucas says he'll spend $300 million of his own money to build the proposed Lucas Cultural Arts Museum and will provide a $400 million endowment after his death. In addition to holding Skywalker artifacts galore, the museum would also host Lucas' private art collection, featuring works by Norman Rockwell and N.C. Wyeth, among others.

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The Salt
3:09 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Fight Over Calif. Oyster Company Splits Chefs And Land Defenders

The Drakes Bay Oyster Farm caters to local residents and restaurants. But unless its lease is renewed, its days are numbered.
Richard Gonzales NPR

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 4:38 pm

Drive just an hour and a half north of San Francisco, and you're in Drakes Estero, named for the first English explorer to lay claim to California.

This near-pristine, wind-whipped marine wilderness is a federally protected home for large beds of eelgrass, the base of the marine food chain. The estuary hosts the largest colony of harbor seals on the West Coast, and tens of thousands of resident and migratory birds.

It's also home to the Drakes Bay Oyster Co.

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Race
3:06 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Shooting Of Sikh Army Veteran Divides Community

A photograph of Parminder Singh Shergill is displayed during his funeral services at Cherokee Memorial Park in Lodi, Calif., on Feb. 8.
Randall Benton Sacramento Bee

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 11:31 am

In late January, a mentally ill man was shot and killed by two police officers in Lodi, Calif., south of Sacramento. Tragedy often follows a confrontation between the police and a mentally ill person, but the facts of this case are in dispute.

The victim was a Sikh Army veteran, and his death has roiled the Sikh community and the city. On a recent Saturday evening, more than 100 people gathered at the Sikh temple in the largely agricultural community of Lodi, to remember Parminder Shergill.

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Around the Nation
4:22 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Memories, And Mended Reputation, Reclaimed From Century-Old Wreckage

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 7:15 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Ocean scientists in California have solved the mystery of the San Francisco Bay. More than a century ago, two ships collided, 16 people were killed. One ship sank and it remained on the bottom of the bay. It's exact location was unknown until now. And as NPR's Richard Gonzales reports, it was an accident that reignited racial divisions of that era.

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News
4:05 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Teen Stowaway Somehow Survives Flight To Hawaii In Wheel Well

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 7:26 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Around the Nation
5:08 am
Tue April 8, 2014

San Francisco's Chinatown Hurt By Yee Scandal

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 8:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, these charges against Leland Yee have been rippling through San Francisco's large Asian community. NPR's Richard Gonzales has been listening to reaction in the city's storied Chinatown.

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Code Switch
5:02 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Activists: We Want An Emancipator, Not A 'Deporter In Chief'

Members of a coalition of Latino groups rally outside the Federal Building in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Activists say they plan more rallies and demonstrations across the country to push for action on immigration reform.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 6:59 pm

Activists who support an overhaul of the immigration system are angry and frustrated. The immigration bill that passed in the Senate in June is stalled out. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is on pace to deport some 2 million illegal immigrants since taking office six years ago.

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Politics
1:28 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

The Story Of Calif. Senator's Arrest Reads Like Pulp Fiction

San Francisco state Sen. Leland Yee leaves the San Francisco Federal Building after he was arrested and released on bond Wednesday.
Ben Margot AP

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 4:04 pm

It's a case that has stunned California's political community: A prominent Democratic lawmaker has been accused in a federal complaint of participating in an elaborate conspiracy involving guns, gangs, drugs and bribery.

State Sen. Leland Yee was known as a champion of open government and gun control, but not any more. A 137-page federal affidavit accuses the lawmaker of soliciting and taking bribes from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for political favors.

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The Salt
3:21 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Truckin': Salmon Take A Long, Strange Trip To The Pacific Ocean

Pacific Or Bust: Fingerling Chinook salmon are dumped into a holding pen Tuesday as they are transferred from a truck into the Sacramento River in Rio Vista, Calif. From here, they'll be towed downstream for a bit, then make their own way out to the Pacific Ocean.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 9:53 am

In California, severe drought has imperiled millions of juvenile salmon who now face waterways too dry to let them make their usual migration to the Pacific Ocean. So state and federal officials are giving millions of salmon a lift — in tanker trucks.

Over the next two-and-a-half months, some 30 million Chinook salmon will be trucked from five hatcheries in the state's Central Valley to waters where they can make their way to the ocean.

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Business
5:28 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Businesses Help Guide Workers Down Path To Citizenship

Silicon Valley companies have launched a drive to provide citizenship services on-site to employees holding green cards. The belief is that such employees become more valuable workers.

Parallels
3:37 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Gays And Lesbians Seeking Asylum In U.S. May Find A Hard Road

Activists protest Uganda's anti-gay legislation in Nairobi, Kenya, this month. LGBT status has been grounds for asylum in the U.S. since 1994, but winning refugee status can be difficult, particularly for people who are unable to obtain visas to the U.S. before applying.
Dai Kurokawa EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 7:43 am

Even through a long-distance line from Uganda, you can hear the fear and anxiety in the young man's voice. Nathan, 19, is gay. NPR is not using his surname because he fears arrest.

"Right now we are not safe," he says. "Because we are hearing some people say ... 'If we get you, we will kill you. If we get you, we'll do something bad to you.' "

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Law
11:29 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Flood Of Gay Marriage Cases Releasing Stream Of Federal Rulings

Virginians demonstrate outside Federal Court in Norfolk, Va., on Feb. 4. The judge ruled this week that Virginia's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Sun February 16, 2014 10:48 pm

A federal judge in Virginia struck down that state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage this week. It's just the latest in a string of similar rulings in conservative states, and it indicates that the strategy for winning marriage equality in federal courts is moving faster than many had expected.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen said Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because "core civil rights are at stake." She compared the case to the landmark 1967 Supreme Court ruling recognizing interracial marriage.

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