You heard about that big mob bust late last week on the East Coast? Well, NBC went to local crime author and retired policeman Kevin J. Mullen to find out why we haven't had any real, juicy mob activity out here. Mullen says that Al Capone sent emissaries out to San Francisco in 1931 to case the joint, but decided it was "too tough" a town to crack. That may just be a proud cop talking, but Mullen says it's an easier town to police, given its size and geography, and the transcontinental railroad terminated in Oakland, after all.
NBC and Mullen neglect to mention that the mafia's historic stronghold out here was Emeryville, where they set up shop with a figurehead mayor, a chief of police, and their very own little harbor, ultimately headed up by mob boss Elmer "Big Bones" Remmer, who worked for Lucky Luciano. Remmer controlled a number of after-hours joints, gambling parlors (the Oaks Card Club in Emeryville is a latter day remnant, grandfathered in under city law since it's been there since the 1890s), brothels, and loan-sharking operations around Oakland, Emeryville, and S.F. Remmer's S.F. headquarters was the Menlo Club, and at least one source credits Jerry Brown's dad, "San Francisco Attorney Edmund Pat Brown [with helping to] incorporate Bone’s La Costa Nosta operation." So maybe it's just that the mob was better connected and operated in relative quiet out in crazy S.F.? In Emeryville, a reported hangout back in the mid-twentieth century was The Town House Bar, so named in part because it's where the "mayor" sat and drank all day while Remmer had free reign.