it's plain most of the dismissive commenters here have never actually visited the fountain, since none describe it accurately. it's actually a pastiche of about 100 mini-scenes - originally modeled in bread dough and then cast onto the surface of the cylindrical conventional fountain - whimsically depicting many local SF icons, often with a humorous touch. it's simply a fun thing, which is why all generations of both residents and visitors enjoy inspecting it closely when passing by, hence it's local popularity.
i have no idea what is so special about one more Apple store that gets you AI fans so worked up. there are hundreds of them already - it's just one more fancy chain store - but there is only one fountain like this. Apple has needed a bigger SF downtown store for years, where it does huge sales volume. leaving is not an option, get real. anyway, it owns its current location.
it is Apple that wants the prestigious Union Square location, not the other way around, to burnish its "high end" branding.
yes, the c.1970 buildings and plaza there now are undistinguished and certainly could be improved. so let's see what next design Apple comes up with before going all knee-jerk.
people in SF take the future of their city seriously, yes, and everything is open to civic debate. if you don't like that, and just want $$$$ to call all the shots, fine. just stay where you are, you won't be missed here.