Veteran real estate broker J. Richard Leyner is taking a stab at politics. The former proponent of Valley secession has been appointed to the North Valley Area Planning Commission, filling a post vacated by Valley businessman David S. Honda. Leyner, senior vice president of NAI Capital who has been with the brokerage for 17 years, has long been active in the community, holding numerous posts on chambers, business improvement districts and other trade associations. But the planning commission post will be his first foray into the political arena. “I just thought this is a way for me to be active civically,” Leyner said. “I’ve never done anything like this except when we were trying to secede from the city.” Leyner is currently chairman of the board of Valley VOTE, the pivotal group behind the secession movement which has since continued to operate as an advocate for the San Fernando Valley. He’s also on the executive committee of the Encino Chamber of Commerce, president of the Encino Business Improvement District and past president of the United Chambers of Commerce, among a number of community and philanthropic activities. In 2005 he received the Fernando Award for his volunteer efforts. Leyner figures he’ll be drawing on all those experiences now that he’s received this planning commission appointment from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “I think my experience as president of the neighborhood council for five years gives me the ability to be a conciliator,” Leyner said. “I’m the guy they call in when there’s a problem. I think it’s the same concept. The biggest challenge is to be very moderate. If you go for the business community you’re classified as not caring about the neighborhood. If you go for the neighborhood you’re seen as someone who doesn’t understand the economic impact of business.” So is Leyner taking a seat square in the middle of a rock and a hard place? He says the answer lies in reviewing each project on its merits. He has represented landlords as an expert witness and he was a staunch proponent of the controversial AvalonBay Communities mixed use project on Ventura Boulevard currently under construction in Encino. “People said, it’s going to bring in riff raff,” Leyner said. “I said, what kind of riff raff is going to afford a $2,000-a-month apartment?” At the same time, he successfully fought a proposal to build a JiffyLube on Ventura Boulevard at Louise Avenue. “I said you’re not putting it there. That’s the heart of Encino,” Leyner said. “Where it’s anti-neighborhood I’m going to fight it. If it’s beneficial for the neighborhood, I’ll go that way.” The Northridge resident said he is particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of helping to upgrade the Northeast Valley. The commission’s area runs from Chatsworth east to Sunland-Tujunga, north of Roscoe Boulevard. Insurance Deal Zenith Insurance Co. has inked a deal for a 21,987-square foot office space in Woodland Hills. Consideration for the five year lease at 21300 Victory Blvd., is $3.3 million. Zenith had been subleasing space in the Warner Corporate Center building. Jeremy Dee of Corp. Realty Advisors, represented the tenant. The landlord, Arden Realty, was represented by Mark Leonard, a broker with Lee & Associates-L.A. North/Ventura. North Hollywood Sale A 16,900-square-foot industrial building in North Hollywood was sold for $2.05 million. The property, at 12926 Saticoy St., is a fully occupied multi-tenant property. It was acquired by private investors. Jeff Puffer, a broker with Delphi Business Properties, represented the buyer. The seller, also a private investor, was represented by Phillipe Marquez of GVA Daum. Production Move Post production company, Five Guys Named Moe, has leased an 11,772-square-foot space in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences building in North Hollywood. Total consideration for the five-year deal is $1.8 million. The space, at 5200 Lankershim Blvd., had been occupied by Ownit, the mortgage company that abruptly shut down several months ago, leaving employees, vendors and others with unpaid bills. Five Guys had been looking for space as a result of planned redevelopment of its current North Hollywood facilities and brokers said the deal was consummated in a week as a result. Trevor Belden and Scott Romick, brokers with Lee & Associates, represented the tenant and the landlord, ZMI Real Estate. Ready to Rumble XMA, a martial arts, gymnastics and acrobatics studio has inked a deal for a World Headquarters facility in North Hollywood. The company is leasing a 5,000 square foot building at 5140 Lankershim Blvd. after searching for a new location for over a year. The five-year lease is valued at $1.1 million. Scott Romick, a broker with Lee & Associates-L.A. North/Ventura, represented the tenant. The landlord, BMP Enterprises, was represented by Brett Winnick, a broker with Piken. New Chief for Realtor.com Move Inc. has appointed Errol Samuelson to the post of president of its Realtor.com division. Samuelson will continue to serve as president of Move’s Top Producers unit. Meanwhile Allan Dalton, the former president of Realtor.com, will lead a dedicated team that is developing a new business venture for Move. Realtor.com is the official Web site of the National Association of Realtors. Senior reporter Shelly Garcia can be reached at (818) 316-3123 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .