Deanna Santana is walking away from Oakland with almost as much money as if she had stayed on as City Administrator for another year.

Santana, whom Mayor Jean Quan dismissed this week, will receive a severance of $223,090, city officials said. The payout includes half of Santana's annual $278,460 salary, plus cashed-out balances for vacation, sick leave and executive leave.

Squirrel issue swamps Berkeley

Berkeley City Council members and other city officials received 81,864 emails protesting a plan to trap and kill ground squirrels and Western Pocket Gophers at Cesar Chavez Park after a February news story on the program that ran in this paper, city officials said Friday.

The emails were all in the form of a single, identical form letter, city spokesman Matthai Chakko said.

City Councilman Kriss Worthington said most of the emails came from members and supporters of San Rafael-based In Defense of Animals, an animal rights and rescue organization.

"It's pretty amazing," Worthington said. "It's the most emails we've gotten on any single issue in the last year, or perhaps ever. I'm happy when I get 20 emails on something."

Chakko said the plan to kill the animals was aired at three public meetings before the City Council getting an information report on it last month "and to my knowledge not one person spoke during public comment at any of the meetings."

Worthington has introduced an item for the March 25 City Council meeting asking the city to revisit the topic and provide more specific information, especially the plight of burrowing owls that nest below ground at the park.

"That's one component of the issue that was never addressed," Worthington said.

Hayward park to get more parking spaces

Weekes Park, where parking can be hard to find, will soon get 16 more spaces between its community center and branch library.

The $252,954 project is being paid for with leftover federal community development block grant funds.

Two of the parking spaces will be designated for those with disabilities. The lot also will include bicycle racks, awning and a bench for a paratransit riders shuttle stop, and security LED lighting.

The Hayward City Council approved the project on a 6-1 vote Tuesday, with Councilman Francisco Zermeno voting no.

The lot's entrance will be on the Patrick Avenue side of the South Hayward park.

Three mature trees will be cut down to make way for the lot and will be replaced with five younger ones. Two of the older trees are diseased, according to a staff report.