Bob Ainley decides to run in contested Visalia council race

Local attorney, board member of several nonprofits issues his intent to run for Visalia City Council District 4 bringing the number of candidates to four

VISALIA – The newest candidate to toss his name into the ring for Visalia’s District 4 council seat has the most name recognition: Bob Ainley. 

Joining a relatively crowded field for one seat, Ainley will be running against Marie Line-Labbee, Emmanuel Hernandez Soto and Veraldo Holguin. Still the Visalia native wants to be a part of the solution for Visalia’s most pressing issues.

“The challenges facing this city, such as homelessness and the current economic outlook, require thoughtful leadership, and I believe I bring that quality, as well as experience to the table,” Ainley said. “Visalia needs to be a community that is safe, especially for children, and committed to sound planning while fostering economic resilience and opportunities for homegrown entrepreneurs.”

Ainley said while he understands that homelessness is on the forefront of everyone’s minds and there are different opinions on how to address it across the council, his position is to ensure the city is bound to state’s requirements when it comes to the issue. He would like to see that the city is “checking the boxes” for state requirements to ensure law enforcement has a full range of resources available to them. He said the start of that is with the installment of the low-barrier shelter in Visalia, a big state requirement that he said must be understood.

Ainley also shares Collins’ interest in a new aquatic center and said it’s a promising idea. He believes a pool in Visalia is a worthwhile thing to explore and continue to pursue. “I think [Collins] does have a legacy of being a very thoughtful city planner, and taking a long-term view of city growth,” Ainley said. “I do think that me and him share a lot of shared views on that issue.”

Ainley has been involved with the community for quite some time. According to Ainely’s information release, he is an owner of The Darling Hotel and co-founder of the local law firm Ainley Alipaz Webb PC, where his practice focuses on forming and growing businesses. It also centers on estate planning and real estate transactions. 

Ainley serves on several boards including the Visalia Chamber of Commerce, College of the Sequoias (COS) Foundation and Tulare County Bar Association. He has been with the Visalia Chamber since 2020,  and COS Foundation for almost six years.

“I see this as an opportunity to extend that service and to keep serving a greater role,” Ainley said. “That’s a big motivation.”

A country kid by origin, Ainley said his family is originally from the small community of Elderwood, but he grew up in the northern region of Visalia. He is a graduate of Golden West High School where his father was a long time teacher as well as a baseball and football coach. Ainley later went on to receive an education and graduated with degrees from UC Davis, the University of Warwick and the University of Oregon. 

Before he moved back to Visalia in 2014 to practice business law, Ainley worked overseas on anti-human trafficking operations with the International Jusitice Mission in the Philippines at the main office in Manila. While there, Ainley said he got to do a wide range of operations, working on sting operations and appellate work for the Philippine courts and even had the opportunity to do some policy work on implementing rules and regulations for anti-trafficking laws with the vice president’s office.

Ainley is a former board member of Family Services of Tulare County and California Law Enforcement Wish Upon A Star. Currently, he resides in Visalia with his wife Kristin and their daughter Maclaine, where they attend Radiant Church. 

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