Storify: Kaliner, “Ravinoff” discuss local Food Policy plan on Twitter

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, Asheville City Council members will vote on a resolution stating, “The City of Asheville approves the attached Food Policy Goals and Action Plan.” On Sunday, Jan. 19, WWNC radio host Pete Kaliner and “Dmitri/Raven Ravinoff” debated the issue via Twitter.

On Sunday afternoon, ahead of the city vote, Asheville City Council member Gordon Smith posted a tweet about the Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council’s “Food Action Plan.” Local Libertarian Tim Peck — who ran unsuccessfully for City Council last year — posted a query about the Food Council’s members. “Dmitri Ravinoff” (whose identity isn’t known) posted a series of tweets, starting with a question about who “could possibly be against an all-volunteer, grassroots org whose only intention is ending food scarcity?”

Kaliner replied that he questions “whether an elected official is steering tax $ to an org. he’s running,” and suggested, “That might be a conflict.”

A long and seemingly testy exchange between Kaliner and “Ravinoff” ensued. After the exchange appeared on Storify, Smith invited Kaliner to give him a call; Kaliner invited him on his show. Via Twitter, Smith went on to reply to some of the questions Kaliner and “@BCGOP” posed: Although a co-founder of the Food Council, he does not serve on its “action” committee; he’s not aware of plans to form a nonprofit Food Council; and in any case, “nonprofits do an incredible amount of excellent work in our community! Helpmate, ABCCM, Homeward Bound, etc.”

Smith adds, “The AVL/Bunc Food Policy Council is entirely grassroots organization that’s involved over 350 citizens.” He encouraged Twitter followers to learn more about the Food Council’s action plan at its website.

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6 thoughts on “Storify: Kaliner, “Ravinoff” discuss local Food Policy plan on Twitter

  1. RavenRavinoff

    I took issue with Kaliner’s line of questioning.

    “I think question is whether an elected official is steering tax $ to an org. he’s running, @ravenravinoff. That might be a conflict. #avlgov”

    Unlike most journalists I know who investigate an issue and THEN report on it, Kaliner seemed intent on suggesting some sort of duplicitous actions on Councilman Smith’s part and, even when presented with logic refuting his assertions, continued to cast aspersions.

    What is interesting, and what I hope most people take away from this, is that Kaliner was actually defending the Buncombe County GOP Twitter account. THEY were the ones to originally question Smith’s involvement, not because there’s actually anything that Smith has done wrong (on the contrary, he’s trying to end food scarcity in our county!), but simply because he’s been a vocal opponent of the Moffitt/McGrady H2O take-over.

    And Smith answered their questions (, yet they were intent on continuing baseless attacks on their political opponent, helped along the way (and given legitimacy) by Kaliner.

    Which makes one wonder if Kaliner is nothing more than the propaganda arm of the local GOP.

    Unfortunately we’ll see more of this in the coming months. If Smith decides to run for re-election then the GOP is determined on an all-out smear campaign. Heck, they even went after a local business owner who had the temerity to question their rudeness on Twitter (

    That’s our local GOP.

    They want to steal your H2O, keep poor people from eating, & keep young people from voting. And God forbid someone call them out on their behavior because they’ll be attacked, too!

  2. Pete Kaliner

    Dear Anonymous Science Fiction Reader –

    You seem to have a hard time differentiating between me and the BCGOP. This is odd, given you quoted my twitter comment at the beginning of your post, and it clearly shows what I believe the BCGOP issue was. You were asking what BCGOP’s point was. I was helping you. You claim it’s an accusation I made.

    I think folks can see that I quoted from the plan to support my questions. Specifically, I noted how FPC participants expressed concerns about a group that was, essentially, leading the enterprise.

    In fact, in a twitter response to our chat Councilman Smith indicated there is such a leadership structure (when he said he is not a member of the General Council). I am asking who is on that team. Why do you see this as an attack?

    Further, everyone who has followed the creation and work of the FPC understands that Councilman Smith has been a major participant in its creation and leadership. I am not criticizing that at all. However, there remains a question about that leadership structure. As you noted, it probably is partly due to the nature of the ‘Dynamic Governance’ model. But the FPC can also make its participants list easily available.

    Names of participant groups and officials should be included in the plan, in the interest of transparency and full disclosure.

    For the third time: YOU asked for feedback on the plan. Now you seem incapable of handling that feedback. Please don’t ask for it if you’re going to behave this way. It actually undermines your cause.


  3. Commenters using phony names?
    Undisclosed FPC members?
    Unlisted nonprofit networks?
    Simple questions with nonreponsive answers?

    Oh my.

  4. RavenRavinoff

    Dear Pete,

    Your timeline of events seems a little jumbled. Let’s go to the records and parse this out so we can get a clearer understanding of how you failed miserably as a ‘journalist’ in this instance, shall we? Luckily tweets are time-stamped which should make our work a little easier.

    First, as I quoted above, you picked up a line of attack first brought forth by the Buncombe County GOP. They insinuated that Councilman Smith had somehow violated Asheville City Council’s Code of Ethics and should recuse himself from voting on the Food Action Plan (here-forth referred to as the FAP).

    At this point, you were not giving ‘feedback’ about the FAP. You were taking up BCGOP’s line of questioning. And I quickly pointed out that, clearly pursuant to the Council’s Cod of Ethics (, that in no way, shape, or form has Councilman Smith run afoul of this Code of Ethics.

    I also stated that Smith is not ‘running’ the organization and asked you to show me where, exactly, the foul was (

    Your reply ( was that the foul would be if there was any benefit derived through city appropriation of tax dollars to the group. Now, anyone taking the time to actually read the FAP (as I would expect any journalist to do) would plainly see that ZERO money is asked for as part of the plan put before City Council (and as MX pointed out in their coverage).

    What’s interesting about this second line of questioning that you brought up is that it ONCE AGAIN just happened to dovetail with the BCGOP’s line of attack ( Mind you, you still haven’t given me ‘feedback’ on the FAP yet, you’re still working in concert with the BCGOP at this point.

    Next, having not a WHIT of actual allegations or substance to continue on, you question Smith’s actual role in the organization (a role that he had already spelled out for the BCGOP, mind you). Whereas any journalist I know would have contacted the organization and/or Mr. Smith to ascertain this info, you quickly leave that train of thought and move on to questions about the ongoing funding methods of the group (

    Which is funny because they are not a government entity, nor are they even a non-profit as I pointed out, and have no obligation to provide you with ‘transparency’. The FAP was created by a revolving group of HUNDREDS of citizens. It is an idea put forth in front of the council, no more no less. What’s more, the funding of this organization has absolutely NOTHING to do with the FAP that is before the council for deliberation. Finally you agree with my assessment ( and now move on to your next line of attack (which is in fact just where you had already been before)

  5. RavenRavinoff


    So Pete Kaliner’s response to my reply above?

    He says that he’s not a journalist, he’s just a talk show host!

    Which is funny, because not only does he call himself a reporter and journalist on his ‘ABOUT’ page (, but his employer, News Radio 570, calls him a that as well! (

    So my reply above must have been SO on the mark that not only does it NOT elicit a rebuttal from Mr. Kaliner, but causes him to go so far as to deny his very profession!

    I have asked his employer, via Twitter, for some clarification and promise to keep you, Dear Reader, updated.

  6. RavenRavinoff

    The best part of all this?

    TODAY is Mr. Kaliner’s 1 year anniversary of not being a journalist with News Radio 570!

    Oh, the LULZ!

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