Whale watching tour boat owner enters Los Banos mayor’s race as write-in candidate

On October 17, 2022 by Allen D. Payton

“Captain Jim” Davis, a LBPD volunteer wants to “end the division…in our city government”

James Davis

With less than a month before the November 8th election and after ballots have been mailed out, Los Banos resident Jim Davis entered the race for mayor as a certified write-in candidate on Tuesday, Oct. 11. Fliers are being distributed which refer to him as “Captain Jim Davis”. According to Darlene Ingersoll, Merced County Registrar of Voters confirmed Davis filed his required paperwork to be a certified write-in candidate, which will allow votes for him to be counted.

An email was sent to Davis asking about his candidacy and his title. He responded, “my decision to run for mayor came into effect very recently. I registered with the Merced County Elections Office since 10/11/2022 in order to become the official write-in candidate.”

I’ve lived in Los Banos since November 2017. I am 64 years old and called by my friends, family and colleagues as ‘Capt. Jim’ since I am a Master Captain licensed by the United States Coast Guard. I own a whale watching tour company with my business partner that operates year-round on Monterey Bay from Moss Landing Harbor since January 1, 2011. Also, I am a volunteer with the Los Banos Police Department (VITAL) since October 2018.”

English is his second language and Davis also speaks Turkish and Azerbaijani, as his mother was born in Russia, he shared. His father was born in Thessaloniki, Greece but both of his parents grew up in Turkey. He was born in Turkey and was in the Turkish Navy.

“Before I came to the U.S. in 1992 and become a citizen seven years later, I served in NATO forces and I was in charge of a U.S. Air Force Base Security Team in Turkey,” Davis continued. “I also worked as the executive vice president of a large construction company with over 4,000 employees. During my military service I was a commander in charge of troops and as a Master Captain I’ve trained and conducted many individuals while also serving as a proctor for the USCG Captain Tests for a little over 10 years between 2010-2021.”

According to his profile on the Blue Ocean Whale Watching company website, he “…has sailed and cruised most of the oceans of the world for the last 35 years” and is a “certified diver.” The profile also shares that his “resume also includes two Atlantic crossings, a solo sailing trip from California to Costa Rica, semi-submersible operations at Catalina Island”

“I’ve been married for 20 years to my wife Charlotte,” who was born in Kansas City, Missouri, Davis shared. “We have two daughters and four grandchildren.”

Reasons Davis is Running

“If I am elected my first goal to accomplish is to end the division taking place in our city government. There is a toxic atmosphere, and it shows at our council meetings which is affecting the operational decisions negatively,” Davis offered. “That is my initial goal to accomplish by making current council members aware that I am not in anyone’s team, and I’ll look every decision as an independent person with no political, financial or even emotional ties to any person or entity in our city.”

“Los Banos is growing so fast. Intensity of this growth is causing many problems since our city is not able to catch up to the growth with the infrastructure and the governmental issues,” he continued. “Of course, we all like our city to grow but also we all want Los Banos to become a nicer place to live as a result of that growth and not become a crowded city engulfed in multiple serious problems.”

“Social issues like crime and homelessness as well as infrastructural issues like water, sewage, traffic and economical issues like bringing business opportunities to our town needs attention and has to be approached in a fair and sensible way rather than serving certain part of the community members while ignoring the rest,” Davis wrote. “But after all is said and done, I am sure nothing meaningful could be accomplished before that toxic atmosphere surrounding our city council is dissolved. As a leader with an independent approach, I am sure I’ll be able to accomplish that.”

He offers more reasons for running on his campaign Facebook page.

Not Recruited by Anyone But Encouraged to Run by His Wife

Asked if he was recruited or encouraged to run by anyone, Davis said it was “after the last city council meeting when I attended, and saw the weakness that was going on. I was at the police volunteer meeting at 5:00 p.m. and one of our members said he was going to the council meeting. I didn’t check until that meeting how many people were running for mayor. When I realized what’s going on, I agreed that they not appoint someone at that time a month early before the election. It gives them an unfair advantage.”

“It’s like the national politics, if the idea comes from the other team, if you like me, don’t like me. Why does everything have to be reduced to the personal, petty level?” he asked.

“Is something that important on the agenda that it needs a fifth vote?” Davis said he asked himself.

“I made up my mind at that point. I had been thinking of it, before,” he said. “I spoke with different residents and business owners, and they said it’s been going on for years in the city. I thought people need an alternative. I was talking to my wife and she asked, ‘why aren’t you running? You have the time.’”

“I have nothing against him, I’m sure he’s the nicest gentlemen, the only one on the ballot, Mr. Llanez,” Davis stated. “Some people I talked to hate the idea that he will be in there and other people loved the idea that he will be in there.”

“A lot of things are not happening because of a divided council, and I said, ‘this is not how it should be,’” he continued. “Don’t sit there and complain and expect others to do it for you.”

Asked if this was his first time running for office, Davis said, “Yes. That’s why I said I’m an outsider, not a career politician. In my opinion, Mr. Llanez will probably win and if he does his best, it will be to my benefit, too as a resident in the town. Our city needs a person who will look at both sides, that they won’t look at it as he’s their guy or on our side.”

“I’m just trying to bring an unbiased point of view to the council,” he stated. “If the challenger in District 2 isn’t elected, it will remain a two-two council and the mayor will be the tie-breaker.”

“The next two years I will be at every council meeting I can attend and follow up what’s going on. This is my checking the waters and dipping my toe in,” Davis added and also shared that he lives in City Council District 4.

Davis said he also applied, last week to be appointed to the Los Banos Airport Commission.

Llanez Doesn’t Know Who Davis Is

A photo of Davis’ flier was shared with Llanez on Saturday, Oct. 15 and he was asked if he knew who Davis is. 

“I got a screenshot of that sent to me last night, he replied. “I have no idea who he is.”
Asked for any comment about Davis entering the race Llanez responded, “At this point I’m strictly focusing on listening to the concerns of the voters and building strategies to address those issues as soon as I am able.”

To learn more about Davis email him at [email protected].

According to the Merced County Elections Office the certified write-in candidate period continues through Tuesday, Oct. 25 and the election is November 8.

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