COMEDIC RELIEF: Regional officials were in rare form at the Oct. 19 groundbreaking in Emeryville of the Interstate 80 traffic congestion relief project.

"We could've double-decked this section of freeway and dedicated it to Fiona Ma," said Union City Mayor Mark Green, referring to the Assembly member from San Francisco who wanted to change carpool rules on I-80 to ease her commute to Sacramento.

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, meanwhile, found most of his planned remarks had already been made by others.

"I thought I'd mention our sponsors, but that was taken away from me, so I thought I'd interview and talk to this chair for a while," he said.

Speaking for Emeryville was Maurice Kaufman, the city's public works director.

"If one city is going to benefit from this project, it's going to be the city of Emeryville," he said, adding at the end of his remarks, "when you're done here, there are plenty of places to have lunch."

A cosmic what?: Texas resident Renea Cribbs, 57, recently participated in a competition where she won a workout with Olympian Natalie Coughlin. The two met up in Pleasanton to stretch, swim and talk about the benefits of staying healthy at any age.

Just because Cribbs was on vacation thanks to winning the competition, however, did not mean Coughlin was going to go easy on her workout.

When Coughlin demonstrated a complicated human pretzel-making exercise known as the atomic push-up, Cribbs was slightly unenthusiastic.

"You just do it like that. Pretty neat and not too bad," Coughlin said.

"Excuse me?" an incredulous Cribbs retorted.

PERILS OF POLITENESS: Zakhary Mallett, of El Sobrante, attended the July 19 meeting of the Contra Costa County Democratic Central Committee to introduce himself as the then-only West Contra Costa candidate for the BART board seat in District 7, which includes parts of San Francisco, northern Alameda County and West Contra Costa County.

The recent master's degree recipient from UC Berkeley talked about the redrawing of BART boundaries in 2011 that gave District 7 an extra chunk of West Contra Costa, raising the chances for its voters to elect someone local, he told The Eye.

"At the conclusion of this meeting, a woman who I knew nothing of approached and befriended me to ask with reservation (i.e., she thought it wasn't true) if the district I was running for represented the city of Pinole," Mallet said in an email. "I confirmed that it did due to recent redistricting, and the woman accepted my business card and mentioned that she would call me later. It sounded like she was interested in supporting me, but she never did call."

He saw the woman again a couple of weeks later when she co-led a meeting of Richmond Vision 2000, a social justice coalition that includes Contra Costa Faith Works, Mallet said, but her name, Maria Alegria, did not immediately ring a bell.

Late on Aug. 10, the last day for candidates to register, Mallett checked the Registrar of Voters website and saw that Algeria had filed that very day to run for the District 7 seat.

"I looked her up and saw on her LinkedIn profile that she lists herself as the former mayor of Pinole and the executive director of FaithWorks," Mallett remembered. "Had I waited just one month to announce my candidacy at the Democratic Central Committee, Alegria would have never known about this opportunity and never would have filed papers."

Alegria, who was recalled from the Pinole council in 2008, did not respond to an email seeking her version of the July 19 conversation.

Also vying for the District 7 seat are Margaret Gordon, of Oakland, and incumbent Lynette Sweet, of San Francisco.

and the score is: Monday was a tough night for politics, given that Game 7 of the National League Championship Series was on. That helps explain why only five people showed up at a meet-the-local-candidates night at an event sponsored by the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce.

"The Giants are in Game 7. That is a tough game to compete with," observed P.J. Quesada, the chamber's 2013 president-elect, before he introduced the candidates. Between their comments, Quesada kept the sparse crowd informed of what was going on with the game.

"What you heard was the Giants scoring three more runs," Quesada said at one point after his mobile phone beeped.

SPEAKING OF GIANTS FEVER: A hometown seagull gave a San Francisco welcome to a visiting television station anchor during his live broadcast Thursday outside AT&T Park before Game 2 of the World Series.

As shown on KTVU Channel 2 in Oakland, the anchor was seated on a couch telling his audience about past World Series played in San Francisco when a seagull splattered poop on his head and dark clothes. The bird had the same kind of uncanny precision that San Francisco Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco used later in the day in a bunt single that stayed fair by inches and helped set up the winning run.

Paul Robins, the Sacramento anchor, burst out laughing, grabbed a blanket to wipe himself off, and joked that the messy affair fulfilled his dream to become the star of a YouTube video. (Sure enough, he is.)

Was the gull providing an omen for the Giants? At the end of the day, the score was Giants 2, Tigers 0, seagull 1.

Staff writers Chris Treadway, Katie Nelson, Tom Lochner, Eve Mitchell and Denis Cuff contributed to this column.