As a CRLS alumni and lifelong Cambridge resident I am well aware of how blessed I am to have grown up in this city. Cambridge’s powerful combination of tolerance, diversity, intellectual and cultural capital and its exploding high-tech and life-sciences industry make it a truly special place.

Because of our many blessings our streets are safe, our taxes are low and our public schools are of a high quality. Cambridge is a statewide leader in both quality of life and economic competitiveness, and boasts two of the most prestigious universities in the world.

That being said, Cambridge is still a city, and there will always be room for improvement. There are still problems – large and small, incidental and systemic – that require bold and innovative solutions.

Probably the biggest concern is the evaporation of middle-income and affordable housing that threatens one of our most prized assets: the diversity of our community. Sadly, I feel the blessings we enjoy have led to a sense of complacency in our municipal leadership, which is stifling the will to innovate and improve – and could prove very costly down the road.

I am voting for Nadeem Mazen this November. This is not under a promise that he has a magic formula to reverse regional trends in housing markets, or that he is a “white knight” that will ride in and transform our municipal government. I am voting for Nadeem because he has shown that he has the right combination of intelligence, passion, drive and creative thinking that is needed to solve problems – as well as the openness and willingness to collaborate that is essential for innovation.

In his life and his work as an entrepreneur, educator, community activist and artist, Nadeem has shown his understanding of and commitment to the tenets that Cambridge holds dear: social and environmental justice, tolerance and the acceptance of others and the value that diversity brings all realms of life. Just as importantly, he has shown that he is unafraid of experimentation and that he possesses a deeply held philosophy that all problems are solvable … if enough creative and collaborative thought is applied.

I am voting for Nadeem because he is not an entrenched 20-year politician content to rest on our city’s many blessings and no longer willing to innovate. I am voting for him because, in fact, he is the polar opposite: a passionate local business owner with seemingly limitless reserves of creative energy. I believe we deserve council members that will never be satisfied with the status quo and that have both the dynamism and ingenuity to keep pushing Cambridge forward.

Matt Yalouris, Granite Street