Wither Occupy Orange County?

This article was altered on Jan. 24, 2012.

After an impressive 88 consecutive days of high-profile protest, the Occupy Orange County encampment at Irvine's civic center relocated on the afternoon of Jan. 11 to Fullerton. While the Los Angeles Times, The Orange County Register and the Daily Pilot reported on the peaceful nature of the move, none of the published accounts revealed why it happened.

According to members of Occupy Orange County who spoke with the Weekly, many in the camp had grown tired of the leadership of D'Marie Mulattieri, a former executive assistant who was instrumental in organizing the movement locally in its early days. Though she sat on the finance committee responsible for the safe keeping of donations given to the group, she had stopped participating in the village's daily general assemblies.

Her reason? Anarchist infiltration.

"I've dissociated myself from them," says Mulattieri. "Occupy Wall Street is moving toward a Martin Luther King Jr.-style protest, and they're basically giving up on the occupations."

While there are those in Occupy Orange County who agree with this change in tactics, many in the movement, which prides itself on leaderless-ness, say they had become uneasy with her management style.

"She had essentially held things hostage, such as the money and the Facebook group," says Charles Cha, who has been active in Occupations in Santa Ana and Irvine.

Things came to a head a couple of days before the decampment when an angry throng of occupiers demanded the finance committee turn all money over to a new committee. Irvine police were called and stood by as a complete accounting of the money kept in a small lockbox was conducted. In the end, both sides say the cash, which totaled about $1,600 [1], was accounted for and was turned over.

As of press time, there were around 10 tents in the shadow of the Brea Dam in Fullerton. Although technically within city limits, the new location isn't exactly center-stage to public life in Fullerton. In fact, Occupy Orange County is now almost completely hidden from public view behind a grove of trees that has the only apparent advantage of somewhat muffling the constant roar of traffic along Harbor Boulevard.


This article appeared in print as "Last Gasp for Occupy OC? Cabin fever leads to abrupt end of Irvine's regularly scheduled protest."

[1] In the original version, it was reported that the total was $800. The Weekly regrets this error.


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