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
2:29 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

It's Hard To Tell La Familia You're Gay

Samantha Moreno, in pink, with her family. "The hardest part of coming out is to know that you're about to hurt someone that you love," she says in a video featured on the website of Familia es Familia, which aims to help Latino families accept their LGBT loved ones.
Courtesy of Samantha Moreno

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 3:50 pm

Coming out to your family as gay or lesbian can be an excruciating experience, and it is no less so if you're part of a Latino family.

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Around the Nation
4:43 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Calif. Leaders Agree To Overhaul Pension System

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 2:04 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

California's governor, Jerry Brown, has announced a set of long-awaited reforms to his state's underfunded public pension system. The Democratic governor says the package will save the state about $30 billion in the future. More details of the cost savings are expected later today.

Brown is hoping the reforms will pave the way for another of his policy goals, as NPR's Richard Gonzales reports.

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U.S.
3:08 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Budgets Tight, States Ask Voters To Raise Taxes

California Gov. Jerry Brown, speaking in Sacramento on Wednesday, advocates a ballot initiative that would increase sales and income taxes. Several states have measures on the November ballot that seek to plug deficits by raising taxes.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 4:03 pm

Tax increases will join political candidates on the November ballot in several states struggling to plug some big holes in their budgets.

One of the most closely watched measures is in California, where Gov. Jerry Brown has staked his reputation on closing his state's multibillion-dollar budget gap.

On Wednesday in Sacramento, Brown officially kicked off his campaign to get voter approval to raise taxes via the Schools Public Safety Protection Act, also known as Proposition 30.

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Business
2:50 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Chevron Fire May Lead To Higher Calif. Gas Prices

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 9:52 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Here in the U.S., analysts are trying to figure out what affect an oil refinery fire could have on gasoline prices. The fire erupted Monday night at an important refinery in Richmond, California. It's owned by Chevron Corporation. It was extinguished within five hours, but could have a lasting impact.

NPR's Richard Gonzales reports that gas prices are expected to shoot up in an already expensive market.

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NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century
12:55 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Oakland Turns A Corner As Calif. Faces Budget Woes

Ryan Curtis leans in for a kiss from Love Kovtun on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland's Uptown neighborhood in April. New businesses and investment have helped revitalize the city's downtown over the past decade.
Laura Morton for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 12:17 pm

The city of Oakland, Calif. has long been associated with crime, poverty, urban decay and, more recently, violent protests tied to the Occupy movement.

So it may have been a surprise to New York Times readers when the newspaper listed Oakland as No. 5 among its top "places to go" in 2012.

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Around the Nation
2:40 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Stockton Clearing Path For City's Bankruptcy

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 7:06 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. We're going to begin this hour in the city of Stockton, in California's Central Valley. Stockton has suffered badly in the housing crisis and tonight, the city council is set to approve a plan that will lead to bankruptcy. Stockton, home to 290,000 people, will become the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy. As NPR's Richard Gonzales reports, it's a bitter pill for a city many felt was on the mend.

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Around the Nation
2:55 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Some Immigrants Relieved After Deportation Changes

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 4:25 pm

Communities across the country reacted differently to President Obama's new immigration order.

Around the Nation
1:50 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Walk This Way: Crossing The Golden Gate Bridge

More than 200,000 people crossed the bridge the day it opened in 1937. Many walked. Others ran, tap-danced, roller-skated, unicycled, or strode on stilts.
Courtesy of GoldenGateBridge.org

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 12:15 pm

On May 27, 1937, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge opened, connecting bustling San Francisco to sleepy Marin County to the north. The Oakland-Bay Bridge had opened six months earlier — but the Golden Gate was an engineering triumph. It straddles the Golden Gate Strait, the passage from the Pacific Ocean into the San Francisco Bay, where rough currents prevail and winds can reach 70 mph.

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Million-Dollar Donors
3:57 am
Sat May 19, 2012

With Eye On Future, Billionaire Investor Bets On Paul

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who has donated more than $2.5 million to a superPAC backing GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in October.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 19, 2012 9:19 am

In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, only one candidate remains to challenge presumptive nominee Mitt Romney: Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

Even Paul has said he will no longer campaign in states that have yet to hold their primaries. And Paul has always been considered a long shot to win. But that hasn't deterred many of his hard-core supporters, including the Silicon Valley billionaire who has bankrolled the superPAC backing Paul.

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Business
2:42 am
Tue May 15, 2012

LightSquared Files For Bankruptcy Protection

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 7:51 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Lightsquared, a company that had hoped to build a nationwide wireless broadband network, has filed for bankruptcy. Its plans ran afoul of government regulators who said the new network would interfere with Global Positioning System, or GPS, signals.

NPR's Richard Gonzales has the story.

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Election 2012
2:54 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Obama's Gay Marriage Stand May Not Sway Latinos

President Obama speaks during a campaign fundraiser Monday at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. The event, co-hosted by gay- and lesbian-rights leaders and a Latino nonprofit, featured singer Ricky Martin.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 5:49 pm

President Obama is attending a campaign fundraiser Monday night co-hosted by gay- and lesbian-rights leaders and a Latino nonprofit. The event is being headlined by singer Ricky Martin.

Obama maintains a commanding lead over likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney when it comes to support among Latino voters. But those same voters are generally regarded as socially conservative, leading some to wonder how the president's support for same-sex marriage might affect the Latino electorate.

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Around the Nation
1:39 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Oakland Police: Former University Student Kills 7

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan address reporters after a gunman allegedly killed seven people at a California religious college. The suspect, identified as One Goh, is a 43-year-old Korean who has been living in the United States.
Kimihiro Hoshino AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 12:01 pm

Oikos University is housed in a nondescript single-story industrial building in a business park near the Oakland International Airport.

The university's website says it trains men and women "for Christian leadership, both lay and clerical." But it doesn't say how many students attend. It offers courses in nursing, music, biblical studies and Asian medicine. And now it's the site of one of the deadliest mass shootings in California in recent memory.

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Economy
4:20 am
Sun March 11, 2012

An Example To Avoid: City Of Stockton On The Brink

The beleaguered city of Stockton is fighting to avert bankruptcy by cutting staff, including a quarter of the roughly 425-member police force.
David Paul Morris Bloomberg

Originally published on Sun March 11, 2012 4:21 pm

The city of Stockton, Calif., about 90 minutes east of San Francisco, is broke and on the brink of bankruptcy. Stockton's road to insolvency is a long one, and it appears that, financially speaking, everything that could go wrong in Stockton did.

If Stockton can't solve its budget crisis, it would be the largest American city to go bankrupt.

The City's Seen Better Days

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U.S.
12:54 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

For Cash, Murderer Leads Police To Victims' Remains

San Joaquin sheriff detectives sift for human remains that were excavated from an abandoned ranch near Linden, Calif., on Sunday. Authorities say Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog wantonly murdered an unknown number of victims before their arrest in 1999. Now, one of the convicted killers is leading investigators to burial sites that have yielded hundreds of bones.
Craig Sanders AP

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 4:45 pm

In California's Central Valley, authorities are excavating the gruesome remains of an unknown number of murder victims who were buried many years ago by a pair of convicted murderers and drug users.

The search began last week after one of the convicts agreed to lead authorities to the remains in exchange for cash.

But, the case raises some thorny ethical and legal issues: Should convicted criminals be able to benefit from their wrongdoing?

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U.S.
1:25 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Unions Create TV Ad To Appeal To Young People

A new TV ad recently test-launched by the AFL-CIO discusses work, but never mentions unions specifically.
Courtesy of the AFL-CIO

At a time when young activists from Zucotti Park to Tahrir Square have shown what the Internet and social media can do to help organize people, some American unions have been taking notes.

The AFL-CIO is embarking on a new advertising campaign that combines new and old technologies.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
10:01 pm
Wed January 18, 2012

Silicon Valley Homebuilder Finds A Profitable Niche

James Witt stands next to the foundation of a house he is building in Palo Alto. Witt has built a successful business by tearing down and rebuilding houses in Silicon Valley. His business has survived four recessions, including the most recent one.
Cindy Carpien NPR

The U.S. housing market may be singing the blues, but there are pockets where home sales are rising. James Witt, a homebuilder in California's Silicon Valley is surviving and thriving thanks to his luck, location, and knowledge of the local market.

Witt is a tall lanky man whose graying long hair suggests an actor in a Western movie. He's standing on his 3-acre property in Palo Alto, which includes an updated old farmhouse and a yard with a pair of donkeys. One, named Perry, has an interesting pedigree.

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Hard Times: A Journey Across America
6:02 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Latinos Get Little Credit For Rebuilding New Orleans

Methodist Pastor Oscar Ramos conducts English classes for Latino immigrants in New Orleans. The majority of the immigrants say they arrived after Katrina to work in reconstruction and intend to stay.
Richard Gonzales NPR

Part of a monthlong series

Since Katrina, the Hispanic population in the New Orleans metro area has skyrocketed by more than 33,000 people. That's a 57-percent increase in the past decade, much higher than the national average.

They came for the construction jobs — and they've chosen to stay. Often, you can find about a dozen Latino men hanging out near a home improvement store looking for work near a mostly black neighborhood.

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Around the Nation
11:49 pm
Mon November 14, 2011

Occupy Protesters In Oakland Ponder Their Next

The Occupy Wall Street movement began in New York and soon protesters were pitching their tents across the country. Since then, protesters have been evicted from their campsites in Oakland, Calif., and in a number of other cities across the country.

Hard Times: A Journey Across America
3:17 am
Sun November 13, 2011

Big Sky Country Has Lots Of Room For Optimism

Billings, Mont., has a diverse economic base, as evidenced by the confluence of stockyards, oil refineries and natural beauty. The unemployment rate for Billings' Yellowstone County was 5.3 percent in September, far lower than the national average.
Richard Gonzales NPR

Part of a monthlong series

In Billings, Mont., the land of the "Big Sky," there aren't many clouds. A city of about 100,000 people between Denver and Calgary, Billings is weathering the economic storm better than many other communities in this country.

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