Pikes Peak Bulletin – Letters to the Editor


The following letters in support of my campaigned appeared in the Pikes Peak Bulletin from Sept. 28th through. November 2nd. I am honored and humbled by all of the local support:

Jaray can shepherd Manitou into future

To the editor:

In the pre-election conversations people are likely to hear around Manitou Springs, it is not unusual to hear the question, “Who do you want running the city?” The only contested office is that of the mayor, with the candidates being incumbent Nicole Nicoletta and longtime community activist Ken Jaray.

For me, the answer is pretty simple — I want the citizens to be running the city. I want the people who live here to take back their community and step up to the challenges facing the city.

In recent years, the long-standing fabric of Manitou has been exposed to extreme impacts. Legalization of the Manitou Incline will undoubtedly become recognized as a benchmark in Manitou’s history. Congestion, traffic and parking woes — historically mainstay summer nuisances — have become year-round issues, both complex and vexing.

We have come to a time when marijuana taxes and Federal Emergency Management Agency money have made us feel flush with cash, perhaps even making us financially giddy or careless.

Never in our community life will good judgment be more important than in the coming years. It is critical to have an involved and intelligent citizen base to face the challenges.

To this end, it is critical that the mayor be a person of integrity and intelligence, and have the ability to mobilize, encourage and foster the citizens. We have a great pool of talent among us and this, I think, will be our best tool in addressing communal challenges.

To this end, I think Ken Jaray will be a timely and wise choice for mayor. He will bring a long-rooted sense of community to a shared table.

Jaray can mobilize the talent of Manitou’s residents; he can help us share our skills and passions and again take ownership as we should.

Ken Jaray will make a fine mayor.

John Graham


Manitoids need Jaray’s experience, passion

To the editor:

Thank you for this opportunity to express my support for Ken Jaray for Manitou Springs mayor.

Ken is one of the most passionate advocates and supporters of Manitou Springs I have ever known. His dedication and devotion to the protection and preservation of Manitou Springs is unmatched.

His experience in a multitude of projects and work on numerous committees striving to improve the lives of Manitoids and preserve what makes Manitou Springs special is nothing short of astounding.

I know Ken will make an outstanding mayor.

Colorado Sen. Michael Merrifield


Former mayor endorses Jaray for position

To the editor:

In addition to the many fine comments by others in our community in support of Ken Jaray’s candidacy for mayor, let me bring a somewhat different perspective about why I believe he would make an outstanding leader for Manitou Springs.

We are living in a new era in Manitou and our city has much to offer our visitors, entrepreneurs and our own community residents. Ken has a realistic vision of the needs of Manitou and the practical aspects of how to wisely plan for the future. His background as a retired attorney and business investor gives us some added advantages.

Although the city’s financial condition has improved significantly over the past couple of years, it takes careful analysis and consideration by the mayor and City Council to prudently dispense budgeted as well as grant funds for the overall good of our citizens.

From my own personal experience as mayor for five years, I know it is critical to seek out and consider the advice of others before taking on small and large decisions.  I firmly believe that Ken has the commitment to take on the task as mayor of our diverse community.

Marcy Morrison, former Mayor, Manitou Springs


Candidate has spent decades contributing, collaborating

To the editor:

I am looking forward to the opportunity to vote for Ken Jaray for mayor.

There are many reasons to support Ken. He has been here for more than 35 years, contributing his time and energy to the causes and celebrations that make Manitou unique. His incredible enthusiasm for Manitou and his calm, yet passionate demeanor have been key elements of his effectiveness as a community leader.

Ken is a creative thinker who is always willing to collaborate and find common ground. Not only does he always listen to all sides of an issue, he actively seeks to hear diverse opinions before reaching a conclusion.

I have no doubt that Ken is the leader that Manitou needs as we address the many challenges that confront our community.

Alan Delwiche


Candidate can approach issues factually, respectfully

To the editor:

I have had the opportunity to work with Ken Jaray over the past several years on Waterfest and on a number of somewhat contentious community issues. I have found Ken to always be thoughtful and professional in addressing difficult issues.

Although there are certainly times when Ken and I disagree on how to approach an issue, he is able to debate issues factually and respectfully without ever letting the debate become personal.

That ability is absolutely essential for someone who aspires to a leadership position in the public sector — and Ken has never failed to exhibit that ability. Ken will be a superb mayor.

Ann Nichols


Jaray is exactly what community needs

To the editor:

One of the most important things I learned while serving on the Manitou City Council was how to listen to both sides of an issue and truly try to see it from all angles. Even when we don’t agree, sometimes even passionately disagree, we always strive let people be heard.

This has always been done in a respectful manner without condescension. This concept of listening and respectful banter seems to be lost lately, and that’s exactly why I am urging you to support Ken Jaray for mayor in the upcoming election.

I have had the opportunity to work with Ken Jaray while on City Council and in the very beginning of the Fountain Creek Restoration Committee. His ability to listen to issues and present multiple solutions has always impressed me.

Ken’s ability to keep a level head and stay focused on the task at hand will make him an excellent mayor. I believe anyone who has been at meetings Ken facilitates will agree he runs a great meeting. Everyone gets a voice, regardless of their status or position.

Ken’s longtime experience with this community and knowledge of the issues make him the right choice for Manitou’s next mayor. GO KEN!!

Shannon Solomon


Committed, helpful resident would make good mayor

To the editor:

Our nation seems to be in a political tailspin lately, what with so much partisanship and petty bickering. Here in Manitou Spring it’s refreshing to see a season of candidates running for public office with a higher sense of calling and character.

In the quarter of a century that I’ve called this town my home, there have been so many good people who have given of their time a talent to serve this community. You have to respect them for the unselfish commitment and time offered.  It is often a thankless job being on City Council or serving as mayor.

Over these years, I have been a pastor to this community, served on any number of boards and committees and tried to be of help in those times when we have passed through trouble and trauma. Along that way there has been one person who has always asked how he, too, can help and be of service.

He has been a leading force in shaping the future of Manitou Springs. I served with him on the Restorative Justice Committee to bring balance into the lives of victims and perpetrators of crimes in our community.

Occasionally, he would even show up in the pew of the church I served for so many years.  To be sure, Ken Jaray has been a faithful friend all along the way!

Now has come his call to serve this community as our next mayor, bringing to that decision an abiding respect for those running against him. He has been walking up and down every single street seeking our support. I am happy to give him mine, and pray you might consider casting a vote for a bright and blest future in this community.

The Rev. David L. Hunting


Jaray has shown leadership skills for many years

To the editor:

Manitou Springs is rapidly changing, along with the rest of the world. It is because of those changes and the need for strong and experienced leadership at the local level that I felt compelled to write a letter supporting Ken Jaray’s candidacy for mayor of our town.

I have known Ken for about 15 years. He is a dynamic and energetic leader, connecting resources and people to accomplish clear goals. He is concerned about our environment, working Creek Week as a volunteer.

His leadership skills were on display during the Waterfest celebration, where I had the opportunity to volunteer. He is well versed in Manitou’s unique culture, helping to create and lead groups that support our community. I was able to work with him in one of those groups, the Manitou Springs Education Foundation.

I could provide other examples. However, my point is that Manitoids need to get out and vote in the coming election. And, I wholeheartedly urge you to vote for Ken Jaray for mayor.

Dee Funkhouser


Jaray is right person at right time

To the editor:

For many years, I have greatly admired Ken Jaray for his professionalism, generosity and passion.

Ken is an excellent attorney who dedicated his career to helping those in need and protecting the less fortunate. He has tirelessly volunteered his time, energy and skills to numerous community organizations and projects both in Manitou Springs and the Pikes Peak region.

Ken cares passionately for Manitou Springs and he truly understands that we make our best decisions as a community when we afford everyone a meaningful opportunity to be heard.

During my six years as mayor, I learned much about what qualities are important to successfully serve as the mayor of the city of Manitou Springs. Ken Jaray has these qualities.

He will lead us in making community-based decisions, no matter how challenging. Ken will work collaboratively to represent our interests well in both the greater Pikes Peak community and the state of Colorado.

Ken Jaray is the right person at the right time to lead our community and I am proud and excited to support his campaign for mayor of Manitou Springs!

Marc Snyder, Manitou Springs mayor, 2010-2016


Jaray offers open communication

To the editor:

It is always satisfying to write about a positive and hopeful future for Manitou. Since 1976, Manitou has captivated me and I believe this is a good year to look forward.

Ken Jaray has been a friend for nearly 20 years. I have come to know and appreciate him as a humble person who is always open to listening.

He also proactively seeks knowledge from a broad range of people. We expect to see that important value in our leadership; we so need to restore that principle to move forward. In contrast, it would be preposterous to say there has been open communication in local government over the last two years.

In reality, over the last two years we have seen our City Council placed in a position of lost trust on multiple occasions. And the fact that all sitting board and commission chairs co-signed a joint letter to that effect has not happened before to my knowledge.

Indeed, Council has had to act several times to veto the current mayor’s control over the agenda in order to allow public discussion. That speaks for itself.

I have confidence that Ken Jaray will succeed for Manitou and I think many people, who know him well, share that same thought.

 I remember one particular instance about two years ago, when Ken hosted the celebration to re-open 7 Minute Spring. He said something that will always stick with me. He said that the only reason he worked a job for all those years was so that he could afford to donate his time to the needs of Manitou.

I sincerely believe that his offer to serve as our mayor can lead to great things for all of us.

Dale Latty


Jaray could hit ground running

To the editor:

Manitou Springs has a unique opportunity to elect a mayor who is exceptionally qualified. Below are some of these qualifications and why you should help get Ken Jaray elected as our next mayor:

• For many years, Ken managed a successful law practice. These skills will allow him to “hit the ground running” overseeing, with Council, the smooth and effective operation of the city.

• Ken has used his facilitative leadership skills to engage people and form collaborations that have resulted in many positive contributions to Manitou Springs such as: Mineral Springs Foundation, Manitou Restorative Justice Commission, Manitou Education Foundation, Fountain Creek Restoration, and more … Manitou functions best when there is robust citizen participation.

• Ken has an extensive network of relationships throughout the region that he’s developed over his almost 40 years of living in Manitou Springs. This will provide Manitou with many potential partnerships and collaborations that will save Manitou money and make projects happen.

• One of Manitou Springs’ strengths is that it’s made up of many voices. As a result, we need a mayor who can help all parties come to agreements that they can live with and support. Ken’s mediation training and skills make him the person for the mayor position.

• Ken is retired, and has the time and commitment that are required to be mayor.

As mayor, we believe Ken Jaray will use his facilitative leadership skills to create a governance environment where citizens, Council, city boards and staff can work together and take actions for the city to run smoothly, address challenges, preserve what we value and continue to be the place where we all love to live.

Please cast your vote for Ken Jaray.

Beth and David Chorpenning


Manitou deserves a collaborative mayor

To the editor:
Ken Jaray was one of the very first people I met when I moved to Manitou Springs 10 years ago. I attended a “clean-up day” along Fountain Creek, hoping to make some new friends. Ken immediately introduced himself. What a friendly, open guy! Before I knew it, he was asking me about my interests and urging me to become engaged. As he told me about the opportunities in Manitou Springs and we hauled old tires out of the creek, I said to myself, “If this guy is a typical Manitoid, I’m glad I’ve moved here!”
Ken was persuasive without being pushy, positive but not pie-in-the-sky, passionate and personable. Great qualities in a leader.
Since that day I have gotten to know Ken even better. Ken can build consensus and that translates into real change and progress.
Organizations such as the Manitou Springs Education Foundation, the Mineral Springs Foundation, Manitou Springs Forward, the Friends of Ruxton Canyon and the Manitou Collaborative have all benefited from Ken’s participation and “let’s make it happen” drive. Ken listens, he speaks his mind respectfully and he GETS THINGS DONE. Manitou deserves a mayor like Ken Jaray!

Nancy Wilson


Jaray has shown his ability to lead others

To the editor:
Although many fine things have been stated in previous letters about Ken Jaray, I would like to add my perspective as a businessman in this community. I served with Ken for several years on the board of directors of the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce. His energy and enthusiasm were obvious from the beginning. He approached all issues with a desire to understand the bigger picture and was excellent at helping to direct a well-thought-out solution.
I would be the first to admit that I did not agree with Ken on all issues, but he proved to me that he was always willing to listen and see all sides of a discussion

I believe that one of the biggest challenges our community will face in the coming years is striking a balance between the needs of residents, businesses and visitors. In my opinion, the past few years have been divisive, with these groups often pitted against one another. A leader is able to find common ground and balance in difficult times and bring diverse groups together to find solutions. Ken can provide this leadership and strike a balance between the needs of all those who love Manitou Springs.
Additionally, I am confident that, with Ken’s background and professional experience, he is the most qualified to lead this city.
Please vote for Ken Jaray for mayor.

Tim Haas, Garden of the Gods Trading Post, Manitou Outpost, Mountain High Sportswear, Mountain High Gallery and Gifts, and The Vault


PAC’s mailing caused shock, disgust

To the editor:

One thing we can probably all agree upon these days is that national politics is pretty miserable. Nothing like a good municipal election like the Manitou Springs mayoral contest to restore one’s faith in democracy: local people discussing local issues and solutions.

Imagine the shock and disgust that I felt recently, when I found in my mailbox a full-color glossy photograph of the Waldo Canyon fire — one of the most traumatic events of my life — with the words “Who Would You Want to be Mayor When This Happens,” sent to me on behalf of Mayor Nicole Nicoletta by a group called The Centrist Fund.

Fortunately, during that terrible time, our city was blessed with Mayor Marc Snyder — an individual who responded quickly and efficiently without the need to blow his own horn, and the disruption to the citizens of Manitou Springs was minimized. We are all in his debt.

The mailing quite obviously had two purposes: to strike terror into the heart of every Manitoid who lived here during that awful event, and to rather disingenuously tie Mayor Nicoletta to the positive response from our city’s government at that time.

Combined with the fact that the mailer was paid for by an out-of-town political action committee, whose founder has stated his desire to “hack” our election, makes this downright nauseating.

Mayor Nicoletta, in her brief time in office, has demonstrated a distinct hostility to due process and any idea that is not her own. Ken Jaray has, for many years, worked behind the scenes to improve our community and its schools without the need to self-aggrandize. He listens and he gets stuff done, two qualities that cannot be attributed to Ms. Nicoletta.

Brian T. Murphy


Let’s recapture the spirit of Manitou Springs

To the editor:

We need a mayor who embraces a collaborative spirit, who truly listens to citizens’ concerns. A mayor who favors richer discussions, fosters community dialog and who achieves great results though consensus building.

Our community dialog at times during the past two years has been very contentions and has led to community conflicts between the citizens and the leadership.

We will continue to disagree at times, but we need a mayor who fosters reconciliation over conflict. We need to come together and recapture the spirit of Manitou Springs.

As a local sage has put it, let’s dream together to shape the future of our community, solve the challenges of the present and honor the rich history of our past. Ken Jaray will bring the needed breath of fresh air to Manitou Springs city government.

Bill Koerner, former Mayor, Manitou Springs


Current mayor’s record has been dismal

To the editor:

Manitou Springs needs a mayor who boldly represents our residents and provides for the future of our community. This is why I support Ken Jaray for mayor.

Nicole Nicoletta has aligned with dark money interests — the Colorado Centrist Project — who are playing a game in our city to learn how to control elections. They have no interest in Manitou Springs’ future.

This is consistent behavior for Nicoletta, who, over her two-year term as mayor, has proven to be less an authority on issues and more an authoritarian.

She imposed no-tolerance law enforcement that the police publicly opposed as overly harsh and ineffective; she prohibits public comment on business items at Council sessions; she circumvented our historic preservation process to expedite demolition of historic infrastructure; she routinely ignores the guidance of citizen committees; and she shouts at residents by name from the dais and in her newspaper column.

More important, there is no evidence Nicoletta has the professional experience to tackle a backlog of infrastructure needs and ensure the future financial health of our community. She’s not even working hard to get elected. Instead, she seems content to let an outside, secretive organization campaign on her behalf.

Ken Jaray, on the other hand, is an experienced businessman and mediator. He served as our city’s legal counsel and was previously elected to the Manitou Springs School Board. He has assembled teams of residents to restore Fountain Creek and our mineral springs, and works with a fund to invest in startup companies.

Ken Jaray will lead our community from Day One. His grassroots campaign has knocked on 1,000 doors to listen to our neighbors, and he won’t open the door to secretive special interests. Six former mayors have endorsed his candidacy. I’m proud to join them and vote Ken Jaray for mayor!

Aimee Cox, Manitou Springs City Councilor, 2008-2012