'Duck' Blog Spreads Its Wings in Charles

By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 26, 2007

Phillip Coons is a quiet man. He says he's a bad writer and an even worse public speaker. He's good with technology, though, and he knows how to create Web sites.

So when the 61-year-old Navy veteran from Waldorf became interested in Charles County politics during last year's campaign, he launched a blog so that he could comment freely about politics, mostly about the county commissioners races.

"I'm not really a very good blogger, to tell you the truth," Coons said last week. "Somebody described me once as a political cartoonist that can't draw. I don't know if it's supposed to be a slam or what."

Within a few months, his blog, the Delusional Duck, took off. A year later, it has become a local political phenomenon. The site averages about 1,000 hits per day, Coons said -- the vast majority of which come from within the county.

"A niche blog about something as small as Charles County?" said Coons, who works as a technology consultant with the federal government. "It just went beyond my wildest dreams."

Coons and four anonymous writers opine around the clock. Last week, Coons posted items at 2 and 3:25 a.m. Bloggers in the "Duck Pond," as they call it, write mostly about Charles government. They critique local newspaper articles and trade rumors, some of which are false.

They tend to oppose growth and development, and their comments are more likely to be politically conservative than liberal. Coons said that he and one anonymous writer are registered independents and that the other three are registered Republicans.

The bloggers have been particularly critical of the county commissioners. That isn't surprising, considering the blog endorsed only one commissioner, Reuben B. Collins (D-Waldorf), in the 2006 general election.

Coons has so much to say about the commissioners that he launched a new blog, CooperWatch, on Aug. 16 to opine about Charles, a county Coons writes has been in "an uncontrolled downward spiral" since the reelection of commissioners President Wayne Cooper (D).

Coons's blogs are not the only ones prompted by recent disputes over public issues in Charles. Hughesville Village emerged during the debate more than two years ago over plans to put a minor league baseball stadium nearby. Residents of the eastern Charles community rose up in opposition, and a new site was begun in Waldorf.

"Our county's growing. Everybody knows that," Coons said. "The commissioners are banking on the fact that most of the voters don't [care] unless it's happening right in their back yard."

When asked what he thought of Coons creating a blog named for him, Cooper said he is pleased.


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