WNPR

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.

Get ready, America.

The White House wants you to know that the era of self-driving cars is closer than you might expect. And the federal government is preparing to roll out the rules of the road that officials say are needed to make sure automated vehicles are safe, accessible and efficient. And if done properly, they say the new vehicles will save time, money and lives.

They also say they want to avoid a "patchwork" of regulations that differ from state to state.

The city of San Francisco is in a quandary. Like many big cities, it faces an affordability crisis, and city leaders are looking for a way to build housing to help low- and middle-income residents stay there.

But one proposal to give current residents of a historically African-American neighborhood help to do that has run afoul of the Obama administration.

Consider the case of Mack Watson. At 96, he is a vision of elegance in his freshly pressed ribbon collar shirt, vest and sports coat. He has called San Francisco home since 1947.

Southern California Gas Co. has agreed to pay $4 million to settle a case in which it faced a criminal charge associated with its handling of a massive gas leak in Porter Ranch, an affluent neighborhood of Los Angeles, last year.

The utility pleaded no contest to a single misdemeanor count for failing to immediately report the gas leak to state officials as required by law when it occurred on Oct. 23, 2015. Instead the company waited three days before alerting state emergency officials.

Former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who turned 93 last month, suffered a stroke and was rushed to a hospital in Tel Aviv, according to representatives from his office.

They issued this brief statement Tuesday:

"The office of the 9th president wishes to update that the 9th president Shimon Peres has been hospitalized in the Tel Hashomer hospital after suffering a stroke. His condition is stable and he is fully conscious. He is receiving appropriate medical treatment."

Chicago cemented its reputation as the murder capital of the country with 13 fatal shootings over the Labor Day weekend, bringing the city's annual toll to at least 500 killings. That's more homicides this year than the nation's two largest cities — New York and Los Angeles — combined.

In a brief and surprising statement, Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown announced he is ending his 33-year career as a member of his city's police force. Brown is perhaps best known for leading his department in the aftermath of the slaying of five Dallas police officers by a disgruntled war veteran on July 7.

The California Assembly unanimously passed a measure that requires a prison sentence for anyone convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious person.

Newly released government data paint a sobering picture of safety on the nation's roads and highways.

In 2015, the number of people who died in auto accidents reached 35,092, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a 7.2% increase over 2014. The last time there was such a large single-year increase was back in 1966 when Lyndon Johnson was president.

The California judge who is subject to a recall campaign after imposing a six-month jail sentence on a former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexual assault has been reassigned at his own request from criminal to civil court.

Aaron Persky, a Superior Court judge in Palo Alto, will move to a courthouse in downtown San Jose, effective Sept. 6.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled 3-1 Tuesday that graduate students working as teaching or research assistants at private universities are employees with the right to collective bargaining.

The decision comes in response to a petition filed by the Graduate Workers of Columbia-GWC and the United Autoworkers Union, which has been seeking to represent grad student assistants at Columbia University.

A microscopic parasite is ravaging the fish population of the Yellowstone River in Montana prompting state officials to ban water-based recreation along a 183-mile stretch of the river and all of its tributaries.

The state's Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced the closure, which extends from Yellowstone National Park's northern boundary at Gardiner to the Highway 212 bridge in Laurel.

Cathy Lanier, the first woman to lead the Metropolitan Police Department for the District of Columbia, announced that she will step down next month to take a new job as the head of security for the National Football League.

The announcement came in a news conference by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. "The NFL is getting a good one here," said Bowser.

A day after she was convicted of perjury and other offenses, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, once considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, announced her resignation, effective at the end of the workday Wednesday.

In a statement, Kane said Tuesday, "I have been honored to serve the people of Pennsylvania and I wish them health and safety in all their days."

Comedian Bill Cosby's attempt to have his deposition testimony about alleged sexual assaults resealed was rejected by a federal appeals court, which decided that the issue is moot because the details have already been published.

The 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled:

Two Fox News insiders have been tapped to fill the shoes of outgoing Chairman and Chief Executive Roger Ailes, who was forced to resign as a result of allegations he sexually harassed a former female news anchor.

Just 12 years ago, researchers feared that the California Island fox, a species about the size of a cat inhabiting a group of islands off the Southern California coast, was toast. Non-native predators and pesticides had dramatically reduced their ranks. The few that remained were placed on the endangered species list.

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."

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.

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.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

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