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Press Clips: Tyler's Hot Streak of Scoops - Dormzilla, Bellosguardo, SBCSD's Vaccine Scofflaws

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

Joseph Pulitzer famously defined "news" as "that which is apt to be talked about." - and by that measure Tyler Hayden in recent weeks has churned out a string of the newsiest local stories in Santa Barbara.

Hayden, the, um, News Editor of the SB Independent, has been riding one of those hot streaks of scoops that journalists get on, just like ballplayers, and joins Newsmakers TV this week for a special "Press Clips" edition to discuss the stories -- and some of the stories behind the stories.

His reporting triggered national headlines and coverage, when he uncovered "Dormzilla," his paper's quickly adopted shorthand for an extraordinary proposal to build the largest dormitory in the world at UCSB -- a below-the-radar project suddenly thrust into the spotlight when Hayden tracked down a prominent architect who quit a university advisory board because the Brobdingnagian dorm plan was being rammed through with little public notice, let alone oversight, at the behest of cantankerous billionaire and donor Charles Munger.

Covered by the New York Times (which, amazingly, actually credited the Indy's excloo), The Washington Post, CNN, The New Yorker, Bloomberg and other major news organizations, the plan to house thousands of students in 7' by 10' bedrooms without windows, generated a coast-to-coast debate, both about the project's controversial design, as well as Munger's threat to withdraw a $200 million donation if it isn't built exactly to his specifications.

Hayden also scooped the latest on Bellosguardo, the 23-acre mansion and grounds built on a bluff near the Music Academy, and bequeathed by the Clark Estate to a new, local non-profit during the administration of former Mayor Helene Schneider, which so has generated exactly no public benefits, beyond diverting about $1 million in salary to the ex-mayor's erstwhile boyfriend and campaign manager, to do what, no one is exactly sure.

By old-fashioned Actual Reporting, Tyler also was the first to come up with a look at how public agencies are - or are not -- complying with Covid vaccine mandates that require regular testing of those who refuse the shot. Shockingly he discovered that only about 35 of the 161 deputies who've refused the vaccine at the SB County Sheriff's Department have complied with the order, while the Santa Barbara Unified School District has achieved nearly 100 per cent compliance without any of the widespread walkouts, resignations and disruption forecast by anti-vaxxers.

Plus: an up-to-the-minute courtroom update on the trial of Pierre Haobsh, accused in the grisly murders of acupuncturist and herbal healer Dr. Henry Han, his wife and daughter, and the inside story of that newsletter tearing Barrett Reed's face off.

If it's Friday, it's Newsmakers TV -- all here right now.

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