YOUNGSTOWN - Members of the Occupy Youngstown movement are holding leaders accountable, said one former member who is now running for Mahoning County commissioner.
Howard Markert said the movement, which celebrates its nationwide one-year anniversary this week, is involved locally in matters like hydraulic fracturing in natural gas drilling and foreclosures, which he said is a good way to bring about change in the community.
However, another former member, Brandon Smith, said he thinks the group lost focus by being involved in more causes instead of sticking to their core principles.
Martha Katz of Youngs-town demonstrates at the intersection of Market and Federal streets on Oct. 15. The national Occupy movement is marking its one-year anniversary this week. It began in Youngstown in October.
Tribune Chronicle file photo
''It started to go after symptoms instead of causes,'' said Smith, the one-time spokesman for the Youngstown movement.
Smith said he thinks the local movement should concentrate on holding leaders and politicians accountable.
Markert said the local movement did that and it inspired him to run for office.
The national movement began in New York City by a group of people calling themselves the ''99 percent'' because they said most of the wealth in the country is concentrated in the hands of 1 percent.
The first local demonstrations were held in Youngstown in October of last year. The movement tried to keep a small cadre of protesters stationed around-the-clock downtown, but their equipment was removed by police after city officials said they were blocking public property and did not have proper permits.
The movement filed a lawsuit against the city, and an agreement was worked out for them to regain some of their property.
Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge R. Scott Krichbaum on Friday affirmed a decision by a magistrate in August to grant the city a motion for judgment in the case in their favor.