The razor's edge margin in the Alameda mayor's race got a little tighter Thursday, with Mayor Marie Gilmore gaining ground on her opponent, school board trustee Trish Spencer.

Over the past several months, The Alamedan has put together a comprehensive body of information about your local candidates and ballot measures. But with Election Day looming in just a few days, we know your time is running short. So we’ve decided to offer the quick-and-dirty take on candidates for mayor, City Council and school board, and on Measure I, the local school bond. To get the scoop in short form, read on; for more detailed information including profiles and candidate videos, questionnaires, campaign finance stories and more, you can check out our Election 2014 page.

Two attorneys with a history of engagement in local politics are squaring off in the mayor’s race this fall. Here's our in-depth report on the candidates.

What skills do you possess that make you uniquely qualified to be Alameda’s mayor?
I have 20-plus years of proven leadership experience as mayor, vice mayor, president of the Planning Board and president of the Recreation and Park Commission. I have a proven track record of working well with others, building consensus and getting things done for Alameda. In addition, I understand the complexities and challenges of the job. I work well with others and have developed strong regional relationships (e.g., my peers in Alameda County elected me president of the Alameda County Conference of Mayors) that benefit Alameda on regional issues such as traffic.

What skills do you possess that make you uniquely qualified to be Alameda’s mayor?
I’m an attorney and have practiced business litigation. I’m also vice president of the Alameda Unified School District Board (my sixth year on the board) and currently serve on the Peralta Colleges Foundation Board (which provides scholarships and grants to community college students).

We’re opening this week’s (slightly late) Campaign Column with some exciting news: We’re partnering with the Alameda Sun on a pair of candidate debates in September.

Candidates for City Council and mayor will go head to head from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, September 18, while those running for the school board will meet from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, September 20. Admission to these forums is free, and open to the public.

We’re racing to finalize locations for the forums but wanted to let you know right away that we’ve got all the candidates signed up for these dates and that the forums are happening. Stay tuned here for an update next week!

The fall election season kicks off Monday with the opening of the nomination period for local offices.

Anyone interested in running for mayor or for one of two open City Council seats has until August 7 to submit their nomination paperwork to the City Clerk’s office. The deadline will be extended to August 13 if incumbents choose not to run for those offices, but that seems unlikely as both Mayor Marie Gilmore and Councilman Stewart Chen have announced plans to run for re-election.