that sinking feeling: Bob Lewis, a candidate for Pittsburg City Council, is an experienced politician who knows the value of sharing his views with the media.

So when he returned a phone call asking why he was running for a council seat in the November election, Lewis had an excellent excuse for his tardy reply. He had dropped his cell phone in the ocean.

"It fell in the ocean while I was on vacation with the kids in Santa Cruz," Lewis explained when he returned the phone call about two weeks after it was first made. "I was leaning over to look at something, and had shorts on and it fell right out."

That predicament left Lewis, who served on the City Council from 1989 to 2002, unable to listen to the 30 messages left over a 17-day period before he was able to get a replacement phone Aug. 24.

"The only thing I lost was all the pictures I had taken. Stuff happens," he said.

NOTHING TO HIDE: Calling himself an "open book," Hercules City Council candidate Bill Kelly has submitted a packet of employment reviews, job references, college records and letters of recommendation to this newspaper for public review.

"The lead plank of my campaign platform is, 'I want Hercules to operate the most open government in California,'" the attorney and former San Francisco police officer said in an email to this newspaper. "Releasing this information voluntarily is simply 'putting my money where my mouth is.'"

"My hope is that this is one more way we can keep this campaign focused on the real issues," Kelly continued. "The point I am making is that Bill Kelly is an open book!"

Kelly is one of seven candidates for three Hercules council seats in the Nov. 6 election. The others are incumbents Gerard Boulanger, Dan Romero and William Wilkins, and challengers Sherry McCoy, Hector Rubio and Phil Simmons.

In 2010, Kelly fell just short of winning a seat on the Rodeo-Hercules Fire District board, placing fourth in a seven-person contest for three seats.

Kelly's credentials packet includes references from his gigs with the police department, juvenile court, state Court of Appeal, Department of Parking and Traffic, and Hyatt Regency Hotel, all in San Francisco, and a San Rafael law firm. He also includes recommendations from a municipal court judge, a former police officer and a City College of San Francisco official, and a transcript from that college's criminology department and a credit record from San Francisco Law School.

You can find Kelly's packet at ContraCostaTimes.com by searching for his name.

UNLIKELY PAIRING: A sewage-treatment plant and a Richmond-based nonprofit devoted to the health of San Francisco Bay.

An odd couple?

Maybe, but they came together to polish up some of Richmond's best shorelines on Aug. 24.

Veolia Richmond, a sewage-treatment company, and the Watershed Project came together with Councilman Corky Booze and dozens of volunteers to clean up Keller Beach and Ferry Point.

The workers snagged more than 50 pounds of trash and debris, and hauled it away.

The Watershed Project is an advocacy group based at the University of California's Richmond Field Station and has been involved in local shoreline, marsh and creek restoration since 1997. Richmond has an industrial legacy but may have a greener future.

Earlier this year, the project organized a massive volunteer cleanup at Point Molate Beach Park and the completion of a bioswale near the Richmond Greenway.

AS SEEN ON TV: The Eye was invited to see the surprised face of Virginia Rundell and her husband last week, as the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol made its way to her Antioch home.

Rundell said she has entered the sweepstakes drawing for years but never expected to see a suited man with a large fake check for $10,000, roses and balloons at her doorstep, along with a cameraman.

Dan Sayer, the company's executive director, presented a stunned Rundell with a real check.

"Things like this don't happen to us," Virginia Rundell said.

Greg Rundell couldn't hide his disbelief.

"Is this a joke? Like Candid Camera or something," he said.

Virginia said the retired couple, who are living off a fixed income, would use the money to "catch up on a few things."

Thursday was Publishers Clearing House's first trip to Antioch that Sayer could recall in his 23 years doing the Prize Patrol.

Staff writers Eve Mitchell, Tom Lochner, Robert Rogers and Paul Burgarino contributed to this report.