St. Pete City Council appoints Brother John Muhammad to fill District 7 seat
Brother John Muhammad takes the seat formerly held by Lisa Wheeler-Bowman.

John Muhammad
His appointment is not without controversy, though.

Members of the St. Petersburg City Council have selected Brother John Muhammad to fill in the vacant District 7 seat left empty by the resignation of former Council member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman.

The Council picked Muhammad in a 4-3 vote, with District 1 Council member Copley Gerdes being the tiebreaker. Although there was a slate of seven candidates, Muhammad ultimately faced former Rep. Wengay Newton for the seat after a runoff vote.

His appointment is not without controversy, though.

While discussing the candidates, several Council members brought up concerns about Muhammad’s support of Louis Farrakhan, who leads the Nation of Islam. Farrakhan is considered an extremist antisemite by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which states Farrakhan “routinely accuses Jews of manipulating the U.S. government and controlling the levers of world power.”

Muhammed told the Tampa Bay Times that the charge of antisemitism is “unfounded.”

As for questioning by the Council members, freshman member Lisset Hanewicz, who voted for Newton, expressed her concern about Muhammad’s ties to antisemitic rhetoric.

“I’m not saying these words were coming out of Brother John’s mouth. If you’re part of a group that spews hate toward another group, that’s a problem,” she said.

In response, Muhammad said he has actively reached out to the Florida Holocaust Museum and other Jewish organizations to meet with. While the museum has denied his request, he said, he looks forward to meeting with other organizations.

“I have shown a consistent commitment to being a bridge builder that a lot of us talk about, but it seems like the inclusivity that we choose to champion, as a state, only applies when we agree,” he said.

Other Council members, however, supported Muhammad and believe he will provide an important viewpoint as a Black community member.

“I took Brother John at his word that he believes in an inclusive city and that his viewpoint is one of love for all,” Gerdes said. “I expect him, over the next 14 months, to show that and if he doesn’t, then you know the voters will decide in November.”

Muhammad will take the place of Wheeler-Bowman, who resigned her position following accusations she no longer lived in the district she represents — a violation of the city charter.

The accusation came from former mayoral candidate Vincent Nowicki, who also brought up concerns about Muhammad’s support of Farrakhan. Council Chair Gina Driscoll announced Wheeler-Bowman’s resignation shortly after Nowicki’s claim about her residency.

Wheeler-Bowman had represented District 7 since 2015. It includes portions of South St. Petersburg including Childs Park, the area known as Midtown and Bear Creek. The home she allegedly purchased is in nearby District 6, which includes Southeast St. Pete.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


  • Richard Bruce

    October 13, 2022 at 3:01 pm

    John Mohammad spent 3yrs with Millions More Movement which is more segregationist than the KKK. MMM demands reparations and freedom of “political prisoners”. As lead organizer of Florida Rising, he advocates no limits on elective abortions. He wants rent control. Florida Rising supports multi-racial movements, but has no whites in leadership. They claim housing is a human right, but expect “other” people for pay for it.

    When did it become acceptable to elect a racist Marxist?

  • Impeach Biden

    October 13, 2022 at 4:20 pm

    John MOHAMMED?
    Why isn’t this guy in Gitmo already? Or picking cotton in Georgia?

  • James Equis

    October 14, 2022 at 8:54 am

    Long live Farrakhan!!!

  • Rivers End

    October 15, 2022 at 12:05 pm

    You can’t say we didn’t warn you.

    The United Kingdom of the Radical Islamic State

  • Glenn Reihing

    October 25, 2022 at 9:09 pm

    I am a white guy that has worked with Brother John Mohammed on housing issues.

    You will not find a more tireless worker who will represent ALL the people of the District that he represents. He is a thoughtful listener and asks smart questions.

    The fact that the Holocaust Museum would not meet with him at his request tells me more about them than it does about him.

    The people of District 7 are in good hands.

Comments are closed.


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