Off Limits

Taco hell

Denver's fabled pretty house -- Casa Bonita to the gringos, transplants and otherwise uninitiated --- received the royal treatment on the idiot box this month courtesy of everyone's favorite F-bomb-dropping Technicolor fatass, Eric Cartman.

Incensed at being passed over for a party at the venerable south-of-the-border chow shack on West Colfax, the South Park fourth-grader masterminded an intricate plot of lies and manipulation that culminated in his visit to "the Disneyland of Mexican food." He convinced Butters -- whom Kyle had picked over Cartman to attend his Casa Bonita birthday soiree -- to hide in a bomb shelter, telling him that a gigantic meteor was heading toward Earth. But Cartman's plan was foiled when Butters, who'd been attempting to create a post-apocalyptic society in the town's garbage dump, realized he'd been duped. At that, the South Park dragnet was unleashed, and our rotund little buddy speed-freaked his way through Black Bart's secret hideout and a plate of sopaipillas and launched himself from the restaurant's infamous cliff into the wading pool below -- not, however, before telling one of the entertainers to "Dive, asshole!" South Park's finest finally caught up with Cartman as he was floating by and asked him if losing all of his friends and possibly being sent to juvie was worth it. His response: "Totally."

Mike Mason, Casa Bonita's general manager, says that while the pot-shot palace hasn't seen a dramatic increase in business since the episode aired on November 12, the restaurant's employees sure got a kick out of it. More than a few have been heard singing the faux jingle "Casa Bonita, Casa Bonita, food and fun in a festive atmosphere" -- which those South Park yukmeisters had set to the tune of "La Cucaracha."

"They really took some time and got the detail down," he adds, noting in particular the traditional raising of the flag for more powdered-sugar-coated treats. Mason says that according to the South Park production company, the nearly thirty-year-old, 52,000-square-foot restaurant is a favorite stop when former University of Colorado film students Matt Stone and Trey Parker roll through town.

Because, really, what else could induce the level of vomiting and psychedelics found in that bunch of fourth-graders?

So happy, not together: Last month, the losing mayoral candidates told us they were oh, so happy to be freed from their campaign duties (Off Limits, October 23), but that was nothing. Former members of the Denver City Council -- many of whom were prevented from running for their seats by term limits -- say they're much, much happier now that they have some breathing room.

Not all thirteen are completely gone from City Hall, of course. Charlie Brown, Kathleen MacKenzie and Elbra Wedgeworth retained their council seats. Dennis Gallagher, who was term-limited out of his northwest Denver district, won a heated race for Denver city auditor. And Happy Haynes got the cushy job of council liaison in Mayor John Hickenlooper's new administration.

But after 24 years representing District 2, Ted Hackworth was fine with surrendering his spot to Jeanne Faatz. "I'm just doing the regular things, catching up, getting things squared away with a retiree's life as opposed to an employee's life," says Hackworth, whose name now graces the athletic fields at Sabin Elementary School.

He took an extended road trip to Virginia to visit his grandchildren but was back in time to stump in this month's election. A former member of the Denver Public Schools board, he endorsed the DPS's winning bond campaign, but otherwise is keeping out of politics.

"It's tempting to stand up and say this thing is really mixed up," he admits. "For instance, that Hickenlooper is getting great coverage for keeping his campaign promise for parking. The problem is he's never identified where the money is going to come from to cover the revenue shortfalls. As a councilman, that would have been the first thing I'd have asked. I don't understand why he gets away with this stuff. The honeymoon time is over."

The honeymoon is just beginning for Joyce Foster, who moved to a new home at Lowry after giving up her District 4 seat to Peggy Lehmann. "We wanted a different kind of living, and Lowry had some wonderful opportunities," says Foster, who served on the council for a decade. "It is just a real community; it's exciting. It is walkable, very livable, and my grandchildren live very close."

She's been staying "absolutely in touch with the city," though she had little involvement with Hick's transition team -- "I think that the goal was lofty in terms of putting so many people on the transition team, but we'll just leave it at that," she says -- and gave up her Regional Emergency Medical Trauma Advisory Council board position. Instead, Foster's taking a sabbatical while she plans her own consulting firm and does some reading. "Mostly good fiction, something I didn't have a lot of time to do while reading contracts," she points out.

"I've worked ever since before I was married, so this is really the first time since I had very small that children that I haven't worked," says Foster, who is leading a ten-day mega-mission to Israel in December through the Allied Jewish Federation. "I am just loving this part of my life."

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