A letter sent by a former Toronto city planner asking friends to stop Coun. Rob Ford from becoming mayor has gone been spreading, one of many anti-Ford efforts trying to take flight.

"The only way this is going to happen is if people pull together around one candidate," Ken Greenberg told CTV Toronto on Wednesday.

Greenberg, who said he hadn't been politically active until Ford's lead started to grow, believes that former Liberal cabinet minister George Smitherman is the candidate whom people should support.

However, none of the other candidates expressed an interest Wednesday in dropping out of the race to push Smitherman's candidacy.

Smitherman had about 21 per cent support of decided voters in a Nanos Research poll conducted for CTV Toronto, CP24 and The Globe and Mail. Ford is running well ahead at 46 per cent support. About 25 per cent of respondents were undecided.

At the CP24 debate on Tuesday night, Ford said, "There's this rumour going around that somebody or the other three candidates are going to get behind one candidate to stop me from being mayor."

Smitherman, who has also called for anti-Ford voters to rally, said such arrangements have occurred in the past and noted there is lots of time left in this campaign. The vote takes place on Oct. 25.

But executive Rocco Rossi, who placed fourth in the Nanos poll with about eight per cent support, dismissed such talk, saying, "I'm in it to win it."

Publisher Sarah Thomson, who placed fifth in the poll, would only say: "Interesting. I hadn't heard about that."

Pantalone blasts Ford

Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone unveiled his environmental platform on Car-Free Day and took a hard shot at Ford.

"… People will realize that Rob Ford's Toronto is the Detroit of today or if you don’t want to go that badly, the Buffalo of today or the Cleveland of today," he said Wednesday.

"It's really not the Toronto that Torontonians want, which is the Paris of tomorrow."

Pantalone, who placed third in the Nanos poll, said Ford's vision of Toronto is a "nightmare" for those who see the city as inclusive and where no one is left behind.

"Is he going to cut all the festivals? … He has to slash and burn to achieve his objectives," Pantalone said, noting Ford has promised to balance the books by cutting both revenues and expenses.

"He (Ford) is the hidden bomb that will destroy us."

Pantalone picked three hard-hit cities for a point of comparison as to how Toronto might evolve under a Ford mayorship.

Detroit in particular has been devastated by the turmoil in the U.S. the auto industry, but all three cities have suffered greatly from long-term de-industrialization in the U.S.'s northeast and the more recent effects of the 2008-09 recession.

All three rank among the poorest large cities in the United States. They suffer from abandoned factories and boarded-up homes as jobs and people have left.

Toronto's real estate has continued to rise in value and its population to increase despite the downturn, in part because it attracts a disproportionate number of Canada's immigrants. Its economy has already largely shifted to knowledge-sector businesses such as financial services, health care and education and away from manufacturing.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Naomi Parness