Editorial cartoons seem to be a near-constant source of unhappiness in Rio Rancho.

We’ve briefly explained our situation with those cartoons before, but in light of further complaints, we’re going into more detail.

Editorial cartoons are a typical part of newspaper opinion pages. By nature, they poke fun at politicians, celebrities and other people in the public eye.

We get editorial cartoons from a subscription service.

We used to pay for access to work from a handful of cartoonists whose views fell in various places on the political spectrum. Due to budget constraints, we’ve had to cut back to one cartoonist.

That situation is unfortunate, but it’s the reality of balancing the budget of a private business in order to continue operating.

When our access was first cut back, the cartoons we used were more liberal and portrayed President Trump in a negative light. Some readers complained bitterly.

We have since switched to a conservative cartoonist who doesn’t think highly of the Democrat presidential hopefuls. We’ve received more bitter complaints.

We plan to switch between conservative and liberal columnists every year to 18 months. That’s the best we can do for balance with the resources we have.

If anyone knows of a talented, reliable local editorial cartoonist whose fees are affordable, have him or her email editor@rrobserver.com or call 891-7172.

Most people cite the problem with cartoons as divisiveness or lack of professionalism. It’s a good bet they disagree with the message of the cartoon as well as its delivery. That’s only human.

Our current cartoonist produces two or three cartoons a week, so our selection is limited.

We filter out cartoons we see as excessively hostile or inappropriate for a family paper. If you think the ones you’ve seen are tacky, you should have seen a couple of the cartoons we didn’t run.

The insults in the cartoons we do run are still insults but relatively mild, especially considering political rhetoric in the country today. They will rub some people the wrong way, but when any opinion is expressed, regardless of what it is, someone’s going to be upset and dislike it.

That doesn’t mean we should silence opinions.

We also don’t endorse the views expressed in the cartoons. Those of us in the Observer newsroom represent a wide spectrum of political beliefs, so you’ll probably find differing opinions on any given cartoon.

Whether anyone on staff agrees with a cartoon isn’t criteria for running it.

Our readers are free to disagree with any cartoon, or anything else we run. You’re welcome to send a letter to the editor expressing that disagreement.

Our policy has a limit of 500 words for letters.

The best way to send us a letter is to email it to editor@rrobserver.com. If you’re not a computer user, you can mail a letter to: Rio Rancho Observer, 409 NM 528, Ste. 101, Rio Rancho, NM 87124.

We’re happy to print a variety of opinions, including disagreements. We’d rather host an open dialogue with disagreements than silence debate altogether.

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