Hari I. Pillai
Send contributions to:
Hari I. Pillai is a new candidate this year.
Even at a very early age, I knew that I wanted to be in the Northeast. So after completing my BS in Engineering at Mississippi State University, I moved to Troy, New York, for my MS in Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in ’97. While at RPI, I became a Graduate Student Senator, taught the non-traditional Navy students Differential Equations/Calculus in RPI’s Extension Program in Malta, New York, and volunteered at Zoller Elementary School in Schenectady.
Right after completing my Masters Degree in Engineering, I worked at GE Power Systems as a Process and Quality Engineer, and eventually moved to the Boston Area in ‘00. Over the years, my career would meander more or less to other areas, including being a tutor, health and wellness coach at the Oak Square YMCA, and in the last few years, I’ve been an Account Manager in the Technology Sector.
Outside my career, I’ve involved myself in many campaigns for local, state, and federal elections, and did a lot of volunteer work as a Massachusetts Service Alliance grant reviewer, mentoring young kids, and volunteer at Massachusetts Correctional Institution - Shirley to promote mindfulness and to cultivate spiritual practices using Buddhism as a vehicle. At my work, I’m a member of African American Business Leaders for Excellence (ABLE), Asian American Professional Group, and Pride in addition to mentoring and coaching junior employees.
I’ve lived in Cambridge for the last 5 years, and currently, I live at Alewife with my lovely wife who’s a medical resident at Mt. Auburn Hospital.
Housing (in general) and Affordable Housing (in particular) – priorities, plans, proposals
If you look at what these big chain real estate developers are doing, they’re literally speculating on our land. If you analyze the publicly traded companies, like Equity Residential, you’ll see that their net profit margins are 33% last year. They are more profitable than Microsoft and Facebook (two companies that actually started here in Cambridge). For Avalon Holdings, who has built high end apartments in Kendall, their net profit margins are ranked #6 out of 1,143 companies on the NYSE with a 48% net profit margin.
My view is that asking these big developers to help solve our affordable housing crisis is like asking Big Pharma to help solve our opioid crisis.
What can be done? Throw them out of here! Let’s not rely on them. What we should do instead is to develop our own apartments using the amazing intellectual resources here.
More importantly, we should not be nervous to explore innovative ideas, like intentional communities, reverse auctioning of units, micro-homes, etc.
Income Inequality, Economic Opportunity
Energy, Waste Reduction, Recycling, the Environment, and Public Health
I believe that in Alewife, we have acres and acres of asphalt that could be shared by my neighbors here. By adopting a shared parking schema, residents here in Alewife and Kendall could save ~5% from their rent and parking costs without building anything new. Of course there are some details which would require some discussions, like snow removal, abandoned vehicles, etc. However, if Indianapolis, which isn’t exactly known as an innovative city, can do it, so can we (and we’ll do it better).
Infrastructure: Water & Sewer; Climate-related issues and planning, Resiliency; Municipal Broadband
Currently, we have estimated that our community broadband would cost $1,800 per person, but in Seattle, their estimated price is only $1,000 per person in spite of having lower costs of living, being much more spread out, and having huge bodies of waters bifurcating their communities.
Why is Cambridge’s estimates for community broadband much more expensive than other cities? My experience as an account manager with Project Management and negotiating experiences would ensure that I could add value to the Broadband Commission that we have set up.
Traffic, Parking, Transportation, Cycling and Pedestrian Issues
When it comes to bicycling and our shared Hubway bicycles, I have a fantastic idea for improving it which was inspired by my visit to Seattle not too long ago: Renting a Hubway bike by scanning a QR code with our smart phones as opposed to using a credit/debit card. After all, we’re much more likely to leave our wallets behind then our smart phones, so this could make it easier to rent a bike.
Open Space, Parks, and Recreation
University Relations – Responsibilities, Collaboration
Arts and Public Celebrations
|Page last updated Sunday, September 10, 2017 7:25 PM||Cambridge Candidates|