Some Santa Cruzans and tourists were excited about the news of the death of Osama bin Laden, but in keeping with the anti-administration, anti-war spirit of this notoriously liberal town, some were skeptical.
No one was more exuberant than Alice Hoagland, who lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains and is the mother of Mark Bingham, one of the heroes who fought hijackers headed for Washington, D.C., on 9/11.
"We are taking in the news and we are relieved that the terrorist who masterminded 9/11 has finally been brought to justice and brought to justice by the hands of the United States," she said by phone, with growing excitement.
"I’m pleased and relieved that this has happened," she said. "My heart goes out to the families of the other victims of 9/11. I’ve missed my son every day, and it feels that this is a little bit of closure for a terrible tragedy like 9/11."
She said families of other victims have been calling with the news.
"It's been electric around here. I'm trying to temper the news with sobering thought that there might be some kind of ugly backlash."
In downtown Santa Cruz, people were surprised by the news, hearing it first from a reporter.
"Oh, it's great news," said John Harding, who was window shopping with his wife, Sharon. The couple of retired former residents, both 68, had returned to Santa Cruz from Oregon.
"That's wonderful," added Sharon, stopped in front of New Leaf Market on Pacific Avenue. "Symbolically, it means a lot. But someone will probably come in to fill his place."
Added her husband: "They should get Gaddafi next."
Mark Case, 45, who is disabled, was more cynical.
"It's pretty weird this news comes out the day after they killed Gaddafi's son and grandson, and it's unusual that they held it a week after getting so much bad press abroad. It's like they did it to glorify the war."
Christopher Hensley, 44, an occupational therapy assistant from Santa Cruz, was waiting to hear more before he gave a response.
"I'm going to wait until I see more. How do they know it's really him? I don't believe anything I see anymore."
Law student Ben Waller, 25, was also suspicious.
“Even if I do believe it, I’m sure the U.S. knew where he was the whole time," he said. "Osama Bin Laden was the member of a very powerful family in Saudi Arabia that the U.S. had many ties with, and he was then important in the CIA effort to defeat the Soviet Union in Afghanistan as a member of the Mujahadeen in the 1980s.”
Brian Shulman, 45, said it's a really big step for the Obama administration.
"It shows they can get done what they said they will do. Obama ran on the promise to capture Osama, and he did. Whether it's good or bad is not as important to me as showing these institutions are in place and showing results."